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Ascend Group reaches new heights with real-time scalability

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Formed in 2014 as a spin-off of communications conglomerate True Corporation, Ascend Group is an e-commerce specialist headquartered in Bangkok. The rapidly growing group recently launched affiliates in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

The Ascend Commerce subsidiary specialises in e-commerce, logistics, and procurement, and its DevOps and site reliability engineering (SRE) team is responsible for developing and managing numerous e-commerce websites.

Sachin Yadav at MongoDB.local Bangkok

“Every day brings different challenges,” says Sachin Yadav, head of DevOps at Ascend Group, speaking at the MongoDB.local event in Bangkok. “My team of 40 works on multiple projects – some in e-commerce, some in logistics. The team works mainly on how to automate processes while ensuring that systems are reliable and fast enough to avoid lagging.”

For Sachin, data is the critical aspect of any e-commerce system – and of primary importance is the speed at which data can be delivered to end users.

We think five years ahead,” says Sachin. “An RDBMS may be fast enough today, but when your customer grows to maybe 10,000 requests per minute, you realise that whatever architecture you’re building also impacts how your application grows.

It was this forward-thinking approach that led Sachin to non-relational databases, and to MongoDB in particular. “We certainly need to think about what the best architecture is for data modelling,” he adds. “Our developers are fascinated by the speed at which you can work with NoSQL and MongoDB.”

With Ascend Group operating as an IT and software hub for multiple different companies, the use cases for MongoDB are varied and demanding. From handling last-mile deliveries for Thai grocery giant Lotus, to managing the online mobile phone store for True, MongoDB is an increasingly important part of Ascend Group’s stack.

The business took MongoDB to the next level in 2020 when it switched from a self-managed instance to MongoDB Atlas. In e-commerce environments characterised by sharp spikes in demand when, for example, a new iPhone is launched, it was a logical choice.

“We are in an era of saving costs, but at the same time you have to provide the same levels of speed and reliability to end users,” says Sachin. “MongoDB Atlas helps to scale up quickly and on demand. We can auto-scale storage and clusters, and also have zero-downtime auto-scaling.”

MongoDB is also allowing Ascend Group to drive real-time analytics, which is proving highly valuable for Lotus’s Go Fresh same-day delivery offering. “Most Go Fresh products have short shelf-lives, so you need sales data available to plan inventory for the next day,” says Sachin. “We use multiple secondary nodes in MongoDB Atlas which don't impact our production workloads, so we can meet the demands of businesses and enable data-driven decisions in real time.”


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