When you set up alerts in MongoDB Management Service, you now have the option to send them to PagerDuty. Like MMS, PagerDuty helps you increase application uptime and identify performance issues. With this new integration, you can set up multiple on-call schedules in PagerDuty to rotate your MMS alerts to different members of the team.
MongoDB Management Service tracks dozens of different MongoDB-specific metrics, providing you with visibility into the performance of you MongoDB system. Using MMS, you can create alerts when particular statistics are out of range. While previously you were limited to setting email and mobile alerts to individual members of the team, you can now rotate those alerts around your team, giving everyone time off by easily scheduling on-call rotations. And with PagerDuty, there are automated escalations so you can be sure that you’ll never miss an alert.
Meet Alvin Richards: Technical Director for Performance and Quality
Meet Alvin Richards, MongoDB’s Technical Director for Performance and Quality. What is your role at MongoDB? I’m MongoDB’s Technical Director for Performance and Quality. I work in the engineering department, but my job is cross-functional across all our products. I make sure everything we produce is high quality, acceptable, correct, and performant. Where were you before MongoDB? Why did you choose to come to MongoDB? I’ve worked at a variety of small companies and startups. Right out of college I started at Oracle, a little company building this new thing called a relational database. Soon Oracle became the market leader in that space; we’d completely changed how people thought about data. After sixteen years I left to work at a variety of startups and pursue a second degree. When I joined MongoDB, I felt like it was the way Oracle had been in the eighties; we were disrupting the ways people thought about their data. We were fixing areas where relational theory had broken down and now we’re reinventing the industry. I’ve been here for four years and we’ve just only started. What’s your hometown? That’s a good question. My heart says San Francisco, but my birth certificate says London. Right now I live in Belmont, California. Did you have previous experience using MongoDB before you arrived? If so, how are things different now that you work at MongoDB? My education was Dwight asking me to build a 100-node cluster for a conference in 6 weeks. So it was a baptism of fire in learning the technology, how to deploy something that size on EC2, figuring out LVM versus MD and many other issues. I love we now have a formal education program… but sometimes I think the new employees are missing out on an experience. Have you had any personal projects where you’ve used MongoDB? I’m hacking my Linn Magik DS at home. I think I can do better than the Frankenstein set of technologies the vendor thinks I have to use to simply play music over a network. Bike or public transportation to work? Electric car. I get to hack the system by being in a car alone and using the carpool lane. That’s California! What’s a typical day (or week) for you? We work in a form of organized chaos because we’re developing a new product and disrupting an existing space. You need to be able to think on your feet but keep the mission in mind. Each day starts with a triage of what happened overnight, covering everything from customer cases, performance runs in the lab, requests from the field or partners. It’s then trying to find the balance of keeping the short term moving but make progress on your strategic goals (i.e. keep your eyes on the prize). What do you love most about MongoDB? The people. There were only twelve of us when I joined and now we’re 340. Part of the joy of being here is watching the growth of not only the organization but also the people. New hires mature and take on new roles and opportunities. It’s very exciting to watch. What’s the most challenging aspect of your job? Solving the next problem. I could say starting as the initial employee in California and building that team from scratch. Then going to Europe for two years and doing the same thing for a whole continent. We had to go to community events, contact existing customers and find new ones, join meetups, and try to figure out what was happening when and where and why. You have to do literally everything. I’m doing the same with my new team, starting from scratch and building in three locations (New York, Palo Alto and Austin) at the same time. What’s one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had working here so far? Random people coming up to me after to talk or meetup to tell me that I’ve helped them think through the problems they have been having. What’s your favorite Seamless lunch order? BLT from ‘wichcraft Name one secret skill you have, unrelated to work. Debugging a 1965 Datsun Fairlady. A rare but critical skill to ownership. Kindle or book? What’s your favorite book? Always a book, preferably on a beach. I’m not sure if this is my favorite but I enjoy “Season of Blood” by Fergal Keene immensely. Describe your perfect weekend. The kids don’t wake me up too early (they’re 11 and 8). Southampton wins a soccer game. I get to spend time with the family and dog (a 2 year old Hungarian Vizsla). Maybe playing some Apex Twin or Underworld a little too loudly on the turntables. So what did you get that second degree in? I graduated with a degree in computer science when I was 19. I worked at Oracle for about 7 or 8 years, and then I realized that tech was here to stay, and I could really do this job for the rest of my life. So I decided to go out and do what I wanted before things got too complicated (worrying about a family, marriage, etc.) I got a degree in photography, then went off to travel the world and take photos. I did a lot of work for the IRCR (International Committee of the Red Cross). They were fun times and a great way to collect stories to tell the grandchildren, but the bug of technology was never far away for me. If you're interested in joining the MongoDB Team there many open positions available in Engineering, Sales, Marketing, and Business Development. To learn more about open roles at MongoDB, please visit the MongoDB Careers Page .
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.”