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The Weather Channel Launches New Features in Hours, Not Weeks

Killer Features. Fast.

Weather changes quickly. In its extreme form, it’s volatile, sometimes dangerous and often thrilling. Given its impact on lifestyle, people are eager to get their hands on the latest information. They want to know – now – what’s happening.

In 1982, The Weather Channel started a 24x7 television network to meet the demand for non-stop, as-it-happens weather reporting. Several years later, they made the natural progression online with But because the site was built on a cumbersome relational database backend, developing mobile apps was difficult. The Weather Channel team needed to iterate more quickly, with responsive apps and a scalable system. For a user base of 40 million and quickly growing on smartphones, the Weather Channel brand needed to move beyond a legacy relational database approach.

The Weather Channel turned to MongoDB to get killer features out to users quickly. Changes that used to take weeks can now be pushed out in hours.

They’ve replaced high costs and complexity with simplified scale and speed. And now that they’ve modernized on a cloud infrastructure, they are transitioning news, lifestyle and some weather content from their digital properties to MongoDB.

With a fleet of apps built on MongoDB, users can personalize their experiences across mobile devices, tablets and the website. They can view incredibly fast radar maps and receive severe weather alerts in real-time.

Whatever users clamor for, The Weather Channel is ready to deliver.

Severe weather alerts, faster than the storm

Five million users rely on The Weather Channel for the severe weather alert feature. It’s a competitive differentiator for the brand, and a must-have feature for many users.

If the National Weather Service (NWS) issues a storm warning for Cook County, Illinois, for example, The Weather Channel has to notify those 125,000 local subscribers as fast as possible.

With MongoDB, The Weather Channel can quickly distribute those weather alerts to subscribers in affected geographic locations in real-time.

According to Kolin, MongoDB’s secondary indexes and fast ad hoc querying make it the only product that can reliably perform that kind of lookup on such a large user base in mere seconds.

Simplified scale in the cloud

Weather is hard to predict. So is the online traffic for weather apps.

With MongoDB, The Weather Channel doesn’t have to worry about app performance during unpredictable peak times.

The apps typically handle two million requests per minute, including weather data and social sign-ins. As the user base scales, so will MongoDB. With its native scale-out capabilities, MongoDB can support thousands of nodes, petabytes of data and hundreds of thousands of ops per second.

The Weather Channel initially planned to build its own management services for the new cloud infrastructure. Instead, they saved significant time and money by taking advantage of MongoDB’s management application, Cloud Manager. Built by the same engineers who develop MongoDB, Cloud Manager is a cloud service that makes it easy to run MongoDB at any scale. Features like performance visualization, custom alerts and point-in-time recovery ensure The Weather Channel can mitigate issues before they arise and optimize its MongoDB deployment.

Fast apps, without the wait

MongoDB met The Weather Channel brand’s needs from day one, with no significant optimization needed.

MongoDB was made for this mission.

Today, The Weather Channel team can iterate rapidly without worrying about schema changes. They can adapt. They can push out changes to users in a fraction of the time. And at much lower cost.

New features, new devices, new expectations. Users want awesome apps that keep getting better. And now, MongoDB helps The Weather Channel deliver.

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