In today’s era of big data, developers of fast-growing web and mobile applications are often challenged to collect, store, analyze and access data for massive amounts of data or numbers of concurrent users on a global scale.
Cloudant co-founders Alan Hoffman, Adam Kocoloski and Mike Miller learned this point back in 2008. The three MIT physicists were responsible for hosting data from one of the largest data generators in the world — the Large Hadron Collider — the world’s largest and highest energy particle accelerator. The LHC is capable of generating petabytes of data per second and it needed to be hosted for scientific researchers around the world to access.
What is Cloudant?
While doing this, they became frustrated with the options available to them as far as managing and analyzing big data. Unwilling to settle, they built a distributed, fault-tolerant, globally scalable data layer on top of Apache CouchDB. Over the years, that system has evolved into the Cloudant distributed database as a service (DBaaS).
Web and mobile app developers widely use their product, according to Cloudant CTO Kocoloski. One example he gave was Hothead Games, which develops the Big Win Sports line of games for iOS devices. They use Cloudant to store game state, leaderboard and user data for the millions of people who play.
As the number of users and amount of game data rises, the Cloudant Data Layer grows (from six servers to over 60 in just a few months), all under the watchful eyes of their big data experts. This frees the developers at Hothead Games to stay focused on new development instead of having to manage and administer their database.
Managing and servicing mobile and web app data on behalf of thousands of developers and hundreds of customers around the world puts a lot of demands on Cloudant’s infrastructure.
Why They Chose Dyn
Since the time of their launch, they have trusted DynECT Managed DNS and many of its advanced features. They leverage these enterprise-grade services in a lot of ways, according to Kocoloski.
“One service that we really rely on is Active Failover,” Kocoloski said. “We used to do it ourselves but we’ve found that Dyn’s monitoring is rock solid and never misses anything. This gives us peace of mind and allows us to focus on our core competency.”
In addition to Active Failover, Kocoloski also said Cloudant leverages Dyn’s Traffic Management. Cloudant replicates its customers’ application data across a global network of data centers. They use Dyn Traffic Management to connect users to the nearest copy of the data they’re after. Geo load balancing provides faster application performance by eliminating network latency.
While Kocoloski was pleased with Dyn’s technical competence, he was equally satisfied with the company’s human touch. While he hasn’t needed to call Dyn’s client services frequently, he said he has been pleased by the service he has received.
An example: Cloudant called once because their API updates were not propagating and Kocoloski was convinced the problem was on Dyn’s end. That wasn’t the case, however, but the client services rep didn’t stop there.
“He could have just said, ‘Well, everything looks fine on our end’ and hung up,” Kocoloski said. “But he went the extra mile and not only found the misconfiguration in our zone but helped us solve it.”
From Physicists To Founders
The ability to solve problems and get things done is innate to most physicists, according to Kocoloski, which is why the transition into startup founder was so natural for the three co-founders. Last year, the company brought in a CEO to help on the business side, which has helped with Cloudant’s continued growth.
The company will next focus on achieving its global vision by making sure the world knows who they are and what they do. In doing so, you know they’ll use some great data to tell their story.