Built with MongoDB: Spectro Cloud
Recently named one of the hottest Kubernetes startups , Spectro Cloud has been making waves across the tech ecosystem. An enterprise cloud-native infrastructure founded by three startup veterans, Spectro Cloud makes Kubernetes manageable at scale for enterprises that need manageability and flexibility. Spectro Cloud’s cluster profiles automate cluster deployment and maintenance across the enterprise and help operations prioritize the needs of the applications teams and simplify infrastructure administration. The company has raised $7.5 million in seed funding and has 36 team members. In this edition of #BuiltWithMongoDB, we talk to CTO/Co-founder Saad Malik and Vice President of Product Tina Nolte about Spectro Cloud’s deeply technical team and why they #BuiltWithMongoDB. Siya Raj Purohit: What makes you want to work at Spectro Cloud? Tina Nolte: Most of the team comes from Cisco, where the founders previously worked, so we already had good rapport and were truly friends. We believe that culture is something you build from Day 1, and once it exists, it’s hard to change. For that reason, we have a strict no-jerks policy. How that plays out is that we provide a lot of autonomy to the team and help support goals that individuals have. For example, we encourage everyone on the team to write blog content about things they are interested in to share their knowledge and build their personal brands. It’s something that our engineering managers even nudge junior engineers about: “So you haven’t shared any wisdom with the world recently — why don’t you write a post?” If you—as a developer—experience some kind of issue, or it took you time to understand something, it’s likely that someone else on the planet has experienced that issue too. So we encourage our engineers to help them out, and it’s good for our engineers to have an external presence, too. See Spectro Cloud’s post: Kustomize your way to MongoDB ReplicaSet Finally, we talk about Spectro Cloud as a family. We’re pretty confident that other people have our backs whether it’s personally or professionally, and that kind of connectivity is pretty special. SRP: How did you decide to start using MongoDB? Saad Malik: Our application is not very data heavy in terms of transactions or relations; it’s very document based. Although we are running a SaaS platform, we didn’t want to be in the business of doing backups, managing policy, and storing configurations. We wanted to use a platform that managed these things for us. So we were looking at Amazon’s DocumentDB or MongoDB Atlas. We realized we would have to use an on-premises version of our platform, so obviously if we were to be running an on-premises version of MongoDB, it would make sense to use Atlas. Our team also had experience with MongoDB so it was a clear choice. And it’s been fantastic — we have been very happy with the performance, and so far, it’s been scaling very well for us. SRP: What has it been like to scale with MongoDB? SM: It’s been fantastic — we haven’t had any outages with Atlas. We obviously have our notifications configured so if there are any outages or things going wrong with the MongoDB clusters, we can catch when one of our clusters is misbehaving. That visibility and getting the monitoring upfront is very helpful to us, because we’re able to figure out which of our application issues is causing the problem. When we were getting started, we had a technical advisor from MongoDB provide us with a one-day seminar on best practices for utilizing the platform and how to optimize queries. From then on, the online documentation has been sufficient for us to problem solve and scale. SRP: What does the database infrastructure look like today? SM: On the database side, we have three different environments: dev integration, stage, and production. All three of them run an Atlas version from a database that is completely separate. The stack that sits on top of it is Kubernetes application, all using Golang, DB drivers for MongoDB, and accessing the application on there. SRP: What advice do you have for developers who aspire to someday become CTO? SM: The number one thing I look for is someone who is very curious. When I was an early-career engineer, my mentors would tell me to always be very curious and focused in terms of what you’re doing. Understand how things are working, not just at the library level, but keep on digging down until you understand not just how, but why something works a certain way. If you understand the nuances, you’ll be able to identify true game-changing opportunities. Building something cool with MongoDB? Check out our developer resources , and let us know if you want your startup to be featured in our #BuiltWithMongoDB series.
Flowhub Relies on MongoDB to Meet Changing Regulations and Scale Its Business
Built with MongoDB: Coursedog
Vietnam's #1 Entertainment Network Accelerates International Growth with MongoDB Atlas and Google Cloud
With a high youth demographic, and a population whose first phone was a smartphone, Vietnam has unique conditions that are accelerating its pace of digital transformation throughout the country as it races to keep pace with neighboring countries. Digital entertainment is one of Vietnam's boom industries. POPS , founded in Vietnam in 2007, has grown to become the leading digital entertainment company in Southeast Asia. It is the #1 network in Vietnam, providing 830+ channels and generating 4.4 billion views per month. The trick, according to POPS’ Chief Technology Officer, Martin Papy, is “hyper-local content for every demographic.” POPS scours audience data to inform new content formats, programming, promotions and deals with local and international content creators. Quickly developing and delivering new applications is central to POPS' go-to-market strategy. To achieve this, POPS has taken the strategic decision to run its suite of apps on MongoDB Atlas and Google Cloud. The main POPS App is an all-in-one content platform and is available on smartphones, smart TVs, website, mobile and tablets. To compliment that app, POPS also recently launched POPS Kids . As the name suggests, Kids is for under-12s and provides a wide range of local and international edutainment and entertainment content. “Deciding on the MongoDB database platform was a simple decision,” Martin says. “We could run it on-premises, it provides a straightforward architecture, and it comes with the full support for restful APIs out of the box. It made it easy for a team of two engineers to build our POPS Kids application very quickly.” This setup worked fine when POPS was Vietnam-based only, with MongoDB running on POPS’ on-premises infrastructure, but was problematic when looking at spiky growth in international markets. “To scale, it was obvious we needed a cloud-based infrastructure,” Martin explained. The advantage of using MongoDB Atlas is that it allows us to expand in the region without significant time investment from our team. Martin Papy, Chief Technology Officer, POPS To solve that problem, POPS turned to MongoDB Atlas , MongoDB's fully managed cloud service, and chose Google Cloud as its cloud provider. Since POPS was already using YouTube and exporting its data from YouTube to Google BigQuery, moving its on-premises infrastructure to Google Cloud was the logical next step. Along with allowing for scale, using MongoDB Atlas simplified the task of database and backup management for the POPS team. Within two years the POPS Kids app has gone from nothing to signing 1.5 million users and generated over 32 million views. This is not simply a story of rapid growth. POPS has also reimagined its developer culture to retain agility as it adds capacity. POPS has reconfigured its monolithic architecture into smaller, more nimble microservices. Developers can now reuse existing components, saving time and freeing them to focus on service improvements. Martin has a team of 50 engineers working full-time on the platform. In just a few clicks, the team can configure, restore or query any point in time in the database's history. It ensures both disaster recovery and the ability to quickly spin up environments for testing new features. “The advantage of building our application using MongoDB Atlas is that it allows us to expand in the region without significant time investment from our team. We can take advantage of the multi-region replication to maintain our level of service. That is incredibly valuable to us," said Martin. This flexibility and capability meant that MongoDB could match POPS’ fast growth curve, from ambitious startup to regional enterprise. For Martin, rapid expansion should not be at the expense of security and control. “MongoDB gives built-in control over all our data. It gives us enterprise-grade features to integrate with our own security protocols and compliance standards. We can deploy a dedicated cluster in a unique virtual private network with its own firewall," he added. MongoDB Atlas now provides all of POPS's apps with a fully managed service on Google’s globally scalable and reliable infrastructure. The broader business is thriving. POPS now provides music, esports, news and game show content to over 212 million subscribers. Today, POPS is present in Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, and plans to add new markets in 2021. POPS Kids has become the most beloved and well-known kids’ brand in Southeast Asia. Watch the full video from POPS' presentation at MongoDB.live here .
Showingly Transforms Real Estate with MongoDB Atlas and MongoDB Realm
Built with MongoDB: Price.com
A few years ago, RJ Jain moved to San Francisco and wanted to buy a couch for his new apartment. Shortly after making an online purchase for a new couch, he found a listing for the exact same couch, previously owned, on another site for half the retail price. That's when RJ had his “ah-ha” moment. “If I bought this used item, I would have saved so much money. Plus, buying the used couch would have been responsible shopping—much better for the environment, he explains. And with that, the idea of Price.com was born. Price.com is building a platform that helps users save time and maximize savings when purchasing products online. On the platform, users can compare prices across product conditions (e.g. new, used, refurbished, rental) and leverage coupons, price alerts, and a cash-back rewards program. Price.com has grown quickly - the platform showcases over one billion product listings across 2,000 retail partnerships, and is experiencing a 30% user growth month-over-month. The company has raised funding from Founders Fund; Social Capital; and angels including former execs at Twitter, Priceline, Microsoft, and Pinterest. For this episode of #BuiltWithMongoDB, we spoke with Vasco Morais , Director of Engineering at Price.com about the company’s tech and his experiences using the platform (for the first time!). Siya Raj Purohit: Your team provides so many cool options for shoppers. How does Price.com function on the back end? Vasco Morais: Price.com’s proprietary algorithm and deep learning models make it possible for both structured and unstructured data to be matched, allowing for quick product matching and discovery to occur across several product types. This enables fun product features - for example, users just have to take a picture of a product they want to buy, and Price.com tells them the best place to buy it. To help provide this seamless service, we ingest and process data around the clock, using a sophisticated data pipeline. To prevent bad data and pricing errors from retailers from making it into our database, we have established a standard schema and put in a lot of effort (around the clock!) into ensuring everything adheres to the standard. SRP: How did the team decide to have Price.com #BuiltWithMongoDB? VM: From the beginning, the team knew that down the line, we would want to provide full support for all listings, including geospatial queries (which MongoDB has native support for). We also wanted to have the ability to easily create new indices as new functionality was added. That way, we could continuously query any product in our database and simultaneously update new data into our system without having to overcome read/write conflicts. We also wanted to have a platform that would scale with us. We’re processing billions of listings and price points and hosting on MongoDB gives us confidence. Finally, several team members had experience with MongoDB and felt close to MongoDB’s architecture — so it was an easy choice. SRP: When you joined Price.com as Director of Engineering, it was your first time using MongoDB. How was the onboarding process for you? VM: I had previously only worked with relational databases which opt for longer query construction as a trade-off for easy syntax and arguments. For example, doing something as simple as sorting (filtering) by timestamp can easily turn into a multi-line query in SQL, and it’s nice to see how simple it remains in MongoDB. Similarly, setting up a new collection in MongoDB was instantaneous compared to setting up and defining a schema for a new table in relational databases. I first looked at MongoDB documentation the night before I started at Price.com and felt fine working on the platform the next day. Every now and then, I would run into something that I would have to resolve with a Google search, but it definitely didn’t feel like the arduous use-it-or-lose-it skill set that accompanies other databases. Overall, for me and my team, MongoDB significantly cuts down the amount of time we spend on development when compared to other databases. Building something cool with MongoDB? Check out our developer resources , and let us know if you want your startup to be featured in our #BuiltWithMongoDB series.
Built with MongoDB: Interseller
Splitit & MongoDB Atlas: Racing to Capture a Global Opportunity
Splitit is a global payment solution that allows businesses to offer installment plans for their customers. Unlike with other buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions, Splitit shoppers can split their online purchases into monthly installments by using their existing credit, without the need for registration, application, or approval. “We have a very different proposition than others in this space,” says Splitit’s CTO, Ran Landau. “We’re not a financing company. We utilize the customer’s existing credit card arrangement, which allows us to accommodate smaller average deal values and a broader range of installment schedules.” Splitit works with online retailers across all market sectors and diverse price points, and recently raised $71.5 million in investment to fund global expansion. Following its IPO in January 2019, the business had seen strong growth as more consumers moved from brick and mortar to ecommerce. Then COVID-19 hit, and online shopping boomed. Landau recognized that the company needed to quickly scale its infrastructure in order to capture this large opportunity. The Need for Speed Landau joined Splitit in May 2019 and worked to modernize the company’s infrastructure. At the time, the team was using a traditional relational database. “As tech leaders, we need to make the right decision,” he says. “When I came to Splitit, I knew I needed a powerful NoSQL server so that my developers could develop faster and so that we could scale – both things that our relational databases were failing to deliver.” In the interest of getting up and running quickly, Ran’s team thought that they could move faster using a cloud-provider database that mimicked MongoDB functionality. He had used MongoDB before and saw that this solution offered the same drivers he was familiar with and claimed compatibility with MongoDB 3.6. Initially, the new solution seemed fine. But as the team started to migrate more data into the database, however, Landau noticed a few missing features. Scripts for moving documents from one collection to another were failing, and overall performance was deteriorating. The application became slow and unresponsive even though the load on the database was normal. “We were having issues with small things, like renaming collections. I couldn’t search or navigate through documents easily,” recalls Landau. Offline Database: A Breaking Point Then one day, the application was unable to communicate with the database for 20 minutes, and when the database finally came back online, something wasn’t right. Landau contacted support, but the experience was not very helpful. “We were not pleased with the response from the database vendor,” he explains. “They insisted that the issue was on our side. It wasn’t so collaborative.” Fortunately, he had taken a snapshot of the data so Splitit was able to revert back to an earlier point in time. But the incident was troubling. Other teams also had been complaining about how difficult it was to debug problems and connect to the database successfully. Landau knew he needed to find a better solution as soon as possible. MongoDB Atlas: A Reliable, Scalable Solution Landau believed that MongoDB was still the right choice for Splitit, and investigated whether the company offered a cloud solution. He discovered MongoDB Atlas and decided to give it a try. “The migration to MongoDB Atlas was so simple. I exported whatever data I had, then imported it into the new cluster. I changed the connection strings and set up VPC peering in all of my environments,” says Landau. “It was incredibly easy.” Not only was MongoDB Atlas built on actual MongoDB database software, but it was also secure, easy to use, and offered valuable features such as Performance Advisor . “It can tell you which indexes need to be built to increase speed. It’s such a powerful tool — you don’t need to think; it analyzes everything for you,” explains Landau. Another great feature was auto-scaling. “My biggest concern as I scale is that things keep working. I don’t have to stop, evaluate, and maintain the components in my system,” says Landau. “If we go back to doing database operations, we can’t build new features to grow the business.” Auto-archival Made Easy with Online Archive As a business in the financial services industry, Splitit needs to comply with various regulations, including PCI DSS . A key requirement is logging every transaction and storing it for auditing purposes. For Splitit, that adds up to millions of logs per day. Landau knew that storing this data in the operational database was not a cost-effective, long-term solution, so he initially used an AWS Lambda function to move batches of logs older than 30 days from one collection to another periodically. A few months ago, he discovered Online Archive , a new feature released at MongoDB.live in June 2020. With it, Landau was able to define a simple rule for archiving data from a cluster into a more cost-effective storage layer and let Atlas automatically handle the data movement. “The gem of our transition to Atlas was finding Online Archive,” says Landau. “There’s no scripting involved and I don’t have to worry about my aging data. I can store years of logs and know that it’s always available if I need it.” Online Archive gives me the flexibility to store all of my data without incurring high costs, and feel safe that I won't lose it. It's the perfect solution. Ran Landau, CTO, Splitit With federated queries, the team can also easily analyze the data stored in both the cluster and the Online Archive for a variety of use cases. Ready for Hypergrowth and Beyond Looking back, Landau admits that he learned his lesson. In trying to move quickly, he selected a solution that appeared to work like MongoDB, but ultimately paid the price in reliability, features, and scalability. You wouldn't buy a fake shirt. You wouldn't buy fake shoes. Why buy a fake database? MongoDB Atlas is the real thing. Ran Landau, CTO, Splitit Landau is confident that his investment in MongoDB puts in place a core building block for the business’ continued success. With a fully managed solution, his team can focus on building features that differentiate Splitit from competitors to capture more of the market. “We saw our growth triple in March due to COVID-19, but the sector as a whole is expanding,” he says. “Our technology is patent protected. Everything we build moving forward will be on MongoDB. As a company that’s scaling rapidly, the most important thing is not having to worry about my scaling. MongoDB Atlas takes care of everything.”
Built with MongoDB: Sunsama
My co-founder Travis Meyer and I were both one year into our careers when it hit us that we would spend the next 40 years using tools such as Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook to map out our time. That felt unacceptable. We wanted to build a productivity tool that’s more thoughtful and intentional so we can live a life that’s more thoughtful and intentional . That’s when we started working on Sunsama. Ashutosh Priyadarshy, Co-Founder, Sunsama Ashutosh Priyadarshy , founder of Sunsama , and I first met in 2017. At that time, he was building a meeting documentation tool. He soon saw significant churn and realized that users didn’t love the product, so Sunsama pivoted. Today, Sunsama is a Y Combinator-backed, invite-only daily task manager for busy professionals. Ashutosh says that in conversations with thousands of users, Sunsama found that people know what’s on their calendar, but also want to know how to think about their workday—how to answer the key question “what am I going to do today?” Sunsama gives users the ability to combine all tasks, meetings, to-dos, and JIRA tickets in a prioritized calendar, enabling professionals to be more mindful of how they spend their time. In this issue of #BuiltWithMongoDB, Ashutosh and I discuss his journey building Sunsama (including the pivots and successful fundraising) and how his team uses MongoDB to operate more efficiently. Siya Raj Purohit: How big is Sunsama now? Ashutosh Priyadarshy: We’re a team of five serving 2,000 active users. We graduated from YC in March 2019 and have since raised $2.4 million in seed money, were featured in TechCrunch and Cheddar, and were voted “Hot Product of the Month” on ProductHunt (read: Sunsama: If Trello & Google Calendar Had a Baby)” ). We’re growing 10 to 15% per month but generally limiting growth via invitations to ensure optimal user experience. SRP: Why is Sunsama #BuiltWithMongoDB? AP: We first decided to use MongoDB because a framework we wanted to use (Meteor) was tightly coupled with MongoDB. Our product doesn’t require all of the complexity of other database solutions, and MongoDB felt like a simple way to get started. Initially, we deployed MongoDB on AWS ourselves. But we’re a tiny team of five people, and it was time-consuming to manage DevOps. Upgrading to MongoDB Atlas was an easy decision because we would rather spend slightly more money and have zero headaches so we can spend all of our time building for customers instead of building for internal tooling and DevOps. As a young team, you just can’t afford to dedicate resources to second-order issues, so outsourcing to MongoDB Atlas made complete sense. Two or three years ago, we noticed that the MongoDB Atlas ecosystem was maturing beyond other tools out there: MongoDB added search, monitoring, and security features that were easy to set up. The timing was great: we were going through an audit with Google for getting our team integration approved, and Google looked at the entire surface area of the security app. Being able to plug and play—setting up the right type of encryption by just pressing a button—was really nice. We grew into MongoDB’s suite of products, and once we committed, we didn’t want to leave. SRP: What MongoDB services do you use? AP: We previously managed our own MongoDB deployment on Amazon EC2, and it was so much overhead. Our customers just wanted the product to work; they didn’t care about how our MongoDB instance was deployed. Thanks to MongoDB Atlas, we can focus on building things customers care about instead of maintaining our database. MongoDB is also moving in a direction we’re excited about that will provide direct value to our customers, especially with MongoDB 4.2 and the ability to run Elasticsearch queries directly in MongoDB. This means we can further simplify our stack and remove expensive Elasticsearch deployments that we’ve got in AWS and use the simple and clean alternatives MongoDB provides. Want to learn more about Sunsama? Request access here. Building something cool with MongoDB? Check out our developer resources , and let us know if you want your startup to be featured in our #BuiltWithMongoDB series.