Why You Should Upgrade to Magento 2

Upgrading from Magento 1.x to 2.x would be an easy ecommerce decision if it wasn’t so time and resource intensive to do the upgrade.

It’s important to note that low volume stores running on a small single server aren’t as challenged by the time and resource investment of upgrading to Magento 2. So, owners of smaller ecommerce stores might have a much easier decision to make when it comes to upgrading.

The intent of this post is to reach out to higher volume ecommerce stores and those stores utilizing a managed multi-server infrastructure. For them the choice to upgrade is much more of a critical business decision, with greater benefits and consequences.

In another post, I’ll tell you when it makes sense to avoid the upgrade, for now.

What’s So Great about Magento 2?

High Performance

Magento is finally moving a cheetah speeds!

Among a lot of super geeky performance enhancements, a Magento 2 Community or Enterprise upgrade promises online businesses enhancements like better speed, a simpler checkout process, safer transactions, more simultaneous corporate logins, improved scalability, and easier page, product, and promotion setup, among many other improvements.

Page load times are up to 50{80e463235c561985fcb9d065cb7af58becf1df7010d7a45bb4eb7315e5a8b304} faster with Magento 2. Magento 1 can handle about 200,000 pages per hour, which is plenty for many stores. But when sales volume and visitor counts are high, Magento 2 can process a whopping 10 million.  When it’s time to process orders, Magento 2 Community can process up to 50,000 checkouts in an hour, while the Enterprise Edition can handle 90,000.

More Cool Functionality

Magento 2 Enterprise Edition ads even more functionality out-of-the-box like a personalized shopping experience, rules based up-sells and cross-sells, rules based related products, rewards points, in-store credit, private sales, customer attributes management, database scalability, advanced search, extended administration rights, administrator roles and privileges, and much more.

What’s also cool is many of the out-of-the-box features for the Enterprise Edition can be added to the Community Edition with extensions.

New Streamlined Code

Among the list of improvements above are some of the common areas where we’ve done a lot of customizations for the Magento 1.9 platform. Magento has done its best to improve its 1.x platform for companies and end users, but too many years of code-upon-code and outdated requirements created inefficiencies. Those inefficiencies grew until it made a complete rewrite of the software necessary. And we’re glad they did it because development, testing, and deployment on the new platform allows us to do so much more in less time.

Revenue Pricing Model

Companies switching to the new Magento Enterprise Edition will pay for the software and service using a gross revenue model. These costs are fixed, so the percentage of revenue you pay goes down as your revenues increase. This can mean big savings for high volume ecommerce stores that continue to grow.

Some of the Geeky Stuff

Full Page Caching

The Magento 2 platform performance enhancements were long overdue and very welcomed by the ecommerce community. Full page caching is now included with the use of Varnish, which caches common HTTP requests. Check out the intro to Varnish. This caching process pre-renders all the database-driven pages into basic HTML. That means faster page loading times.

More Enhancements to Load Pages Faster

More page-loading time-savers are Magento’s new compatibility with HHVM (compiles php code on the fly), reduced javascript calls, and improved APIs. Ecommerce customers should see Magento pages that previously took around 5 to 10 seconds to load are now loading in a fraction of the time on the new platform. And faster page load times mean lots of wonderful things for ecommerce sites; potentially higher Google organic search rankings, more visitor time on the website, higher conversions, and an overall improved user experience.

Support for More Databases

Database load-balancing is also new to Magento. Older versions of Magento allowed only one database to run the entire store. Three separate databases are now allowed in the Enterprise Edition. One database for browsing the category and product pages, another for order management, and another for the checkout process. Built-in is the ability to assign a slave database for each master, and the new system has compatibility with MySQL Clusters for checkout and order management databases. These database enhancements and functionality all make for a more scalable system. It also provides a much faster end user experience for customers, administrators, and corporate employees managing products and utilizing customer account features in the system.

Even More Cool Stuff

There’s a lot more geeky stuff to check out. Visit here to see the latest Magento Enterprise Edition feature list.

But Wait…There’s More (That’s Enough…I’m Not Trying to Sell It)

So, if you know all the ins and outs of the Magento 2 platform, you’ll know that I’ve touched on some of the big benefits, and there’s much more we could talk about. Suffice it to say, the improvements included are significant.

There’s Good and Bad News with Upgrading

The good news is, the Magento core is not that difficult to upgrade. But once you make the move to the new platform, there is no backward compatibility. So, you stay with Magento 2 moving forward. The benefits of upgrading should be worth it once you determine they help and improve your business model, branding, and customer experience.


Though the core upgrade is manageable, many ecommerce companies utilizing the flexibility of the platform have spent a lot of money customizing Magento to improve the shopping experience, relevancy, convenience, revenue per sale, and loyalty. These customizations typically included changes to the website theme, page layouts, content flow, checkout process, fulfillment, shipping, taxation, promotions, functional rules, third party service integrations and extensions, and much more. Unfortunately for these companies, the upgrade does not treat these customizations kindly. And that means more development costs to rework those customizations into the new platform.

Your Magento 1.9 and 1.14 Customizations Will Break

The truth is, the Magento upgrade will most likely break some, many, or all your customizations. Your customers may be so accustomed to the experience provided by your customizations that doing without them may not be an option. So allocating resources for refactoring and repairing some or all your customizations will be part of your upgrade planning and budget.

A Silver Lining

Magento’s goals for the upgrade certainly did not include doing everything they could to ensure compatibility with as many existing third-party solutions as possible. Instead, the folks at Magento set out to create a faster, nimbler, and more user-friendly platform. In fact, this new platform includes functionality that reduces the need for many of the third-party extensions on the market.

For stores using as many as 40 or more extensions, this gives you an opportunity to rethink your business goals and online processes and cut away the fat. Cutting down on the use of extensions can have a dramatic positive effect on your website’s performance. Coupled with the new platform’s performance enhancements, you might find the upgrade worth it just based on speed.

You Need Magento Developers Who Are Past the Learning Curve

Some development shops have difficulty helping their clients make the jump to the new Magento platform. We know because we’ve had to come in and take over development projects gone awry. Not all developers know the pitfalls of development shortcuts, skipping or forgetting to do quality assurance testing in production mode, and the list can go on. Let’s just say it’s easy to sell an upgrade service, but it takes a much more experienced Magento team to efficiently and effectively perform an extensive Magento upgrade.

There is a learning curve for the new Magento 2 platform that all developers must experience. Make sure your development team has a Magento 2 trained leader on your project with at least one successful upgrade under their belt.

When You’ve Made the Choice to Upgrade

Once the decision to upgrade has been made you need to start thinking about managing your costs and other resources. Having a good project plan and sticking closely to it are important for your success. You do this to manage expectations, pursue business goals, and avoid extended timeframes and increasing costs.

Unless your development team has successfully performed upgrades to Magento 2, you would be wise to rely on an experienced team. Doing so will help you keep to your deadlines and budget. Project managers should be aware of Magento 2 related issues that can creep into many upgrade projects. Click here to learn how to Keep Your Magento Project on Time and on Budget.


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