Founded in 2010, MapBox makes tools to help companies design beautiful maps for their websites and mobile experiences. The Washington, D.C.-based startup was created because there was a need to better visualize big data sets and present them in a more approachable way.
MapBox is focused on a quality design experience for whatever data sets customers have, making publishing and the ability to scale easy. As a result, there is a lot of diversity in the way the tool is used. This versatility has led to a lot of growth for the company, which now boasts well-known companies like FourSquare and NPR as clients.
To help better scale, MapBox switched to Dyn Active Failover and Traffic Management services, providing global redundancy and more flexibility for managing massive traffic spikes, all while ensuring their maps are fast.
Using DynECT Traffic Management
- Client Details
- Founded in 2010
- Major clients: FourSquare & NPR
- Based in Washington, DC
“The mission of MapBox is to scale and be highly available,” said Will White, MapBox engineer. “We quickly realized using Dyn would help us deliver faster maps without adding heavy complexity to our infrastructure.”
To better scale, they opened an additional data center in Ireland and implemented Dyn’s Active Failover and Traffic Management services at the same time. Traffic Management, backed by an Anycast DNS network with nearly 20 POPs, allows MapBox to direct traffic around the globe to the data center nearest a given user.
Instead of European traffic going to Virginia, it stays in Europe, directed to the Ireland data center. Directing traffic based on proximity means faster delivery of maps.
In addition to Traffic Management improving performance for end users, Active Failover also increases MapBox’s overall availability. If an outage event affects multiple Availability Zones within a single data center and their service goes offline in that data center, all traffic will be automatically routed to the surviving data center within minutes of the outage, according to Mapbox engineer Ian Ward.
As part of Active Failover, Dyn’s global network helps determine when a regional outage specifically affects MapBox, which then triggers failover. The combination of these two DynECT Managed DNS advanced features help to simplify MapBox’s approach to global redundancy. Other approaches, like round robin DNS, require complex engineering at the application level, according to Ward.
Instead, Traffic Management’s ability to direct regional traffic to specific regional data centers keeps things simple. Under normal circumstances, a MapBox user who logs into the service from London will always have their traffic served by and session maintained in Ireland.
- Keys to success
- Global redundancy
- Decreased latency
- Active failover
As MapBox continues to grow, its need for Traffic Management will grow alongside it. White said the company is thinking about opening a third data center in South America and when he heard about Dyn’s impending POP in Brazil, he was thrilled.
“Brazil ranks fourth in terms of most FourSquare users,” said White. “The United States is eighth. So naturally, MapBox will want to have a major presence in South America. It’ll be a great bonus if, while doing that, we’re able to continue this relationship with Dyn.”
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