Copious is a social marketplace that, behind the scenes, blends data models at the storage level to fit specific use cases and features. Each of these comes with its own constraints and operational challenges. Activity streams, social context, product search, and purchase processing span the spectrum from absolute consistency requirements to “any response is better than no response.”
In this talk, Rob Zuber, Co-Founder at Copious, talks about why they put Riak into production and where it fits in their total data store strategy. Rob has a very healthy, humorous, and deep understanding of data stores and systems environments and it all shows in this presentation. This talk is well worth watching for anyone interested in how Riak fits social use cases and how to approach choosing the right tool for the job. He also has some one-of-a-kind insight into starting companies and building products with a small team that is not to be overlooked.
January 31, 2013
This is the second in a series of blog posts covering Riak for retail and eCommerce platforms. To learn more, join our “Retail on Riak” webcast on Friday, February 8th or download the “Riak for Retail” whitepaper.
In our last post, we looked at three Riak users in the eCommerce/retail space. In this post, we will look at some common use cases for Riak and how to start building them with Riak’s key/value model and querying features.
- Shopping Carts: Riak’s focus on availability makes it attractive to retailers offering shopping carts and other “buy now” functionality. If the shopping cart is unavailable, loses product additions, or responds slowly to users, it has a direct impact on revenue and user trust.
- Product Catalogs: Retailers need to store anywhere from thousands to tens of thousands of inventory items and associated information – such as photos, descriptions, prices, and category information. Riak’s flexible, fast storage makes it a good fit for this type of data.
- User Information: As mobile, web, and multi-channel shopping become more social and personalized, retailers have to manage increasing amounts of user information. Riak scales efficiently to meet increased data and traffic needs and ensures user data is always available for online shopping experiences.
- Session Data: Riak provides a highly reliable platform for session storage. User/session IDs are usually stored in cookies or otherwise known at lookup time, a good fit for Riak’s key/value mode.
In Riak, objects are comprised of key/value pairs, which are stored in flat namespaces called “buckets.” Riak is content-type agnostic, and stores all objects on disk as binaries, giving retailers lots of flexibility to store anything they want. Here are some common approaches to modeling the data and services discussed above in Riak:
Riak provides several features for querying data:
Riak Search: Riak Search is a distributed, full-text search engine. It provides support for various MIME types & analyzers, and robust querying.
Possible Use Cases: Searching product information or product descriptions.
Secondary Indexing: Secondary Indexing (2i) gives developers the ability, at write time, to tag an object stored in Riak with one or more values, queryable by exact matches or ranges of an index.
Possible Use Cases: Tagging products with categories, special promotion identifiers, date ranges, price or other metadata.
Possible Use Cases: Filtering product information by tag, counting items, and extracting links to related products.
Check out our docs for more information on building applications and services with Riak.
January 29, 2013
This is the first in a series of blog posts covering the benefits Riak offers to developers and operators of retail and eCommerce platforms. To learn more, join our “Retail on Riak” webcast on Friday, February 8th.
As retailers grow and have to store more and more data, traditional relational databases aren’t always the best option. Retailers want to scale easily, without the operational burden of manual sharding. Meanwhile, business requirements demand their data is always available for reads and writes. Riak is a highly available, low latency distributed database that is ideal for retailers who need to serve product data quickly and maintain “always on” shopping experiences. Riak is based on architectural principles from Amazon. Riak is designed for high availability and scale so retailers can always serve customers, even under failure conditions, and rapidly grow to meet peak loads.
Retailers of all sizes have chosen Riak to power parts of their business, including:
- Best Buy: Best Buy is North America’s top specialty retailer of consumer electronics, personal computers, entertainment software, and appliances. Riak has been an integral part in the transformation push to re-platform Best Buy’s eCommerce platform. For more info, check out Best Buy’s talk from our 2012 developer conference, RICON.
- ideal: ideel is one of the fastest growing retailers with over 5 million members and more than 1,000 brand partners. They use Riak to serve HTML documents and user-specific products. ideel chose Riak to power their event-based shopping experience due to Riak’s ability to serve users information at low latency and provide ease of use and scale to ideel’s operations team. Check out the complete case study for more details.
- Copious: Copious is a social commerce marketplace that makes it easy for people to buy and sell the things they love. They currently store all registered accounts in Riak as well as the tokens that make it possible for users to authenticate with Copious via their Facebook or Twitter accounts. They chose to use Riak for their social login functionality because of its operational simplicity, which allows them to easily scale up without sharding and provides the high availability required for a smooth user experience. For more details, check out the complete Copious story on our blog.
For more information about the benefits of Riak for retailers and the retailers already using it, register for our “Retail on Riak” webcast on February 8th!
January 28, 2013
Copious is a social commerce marketplace that makes it easy for people to buy and sell the things they love. Copious uses social data from Facebook and Twitter to customize the shopping and selling experience for each individual user around their interests, taste, and style. This connects buyers and sellers to each other in a unique way that also presents exciting technical challenges.
In the summer of 2012, Copious decided to switch to Riak from MongoDB for their social login functionality. They currently store all registered accounts in Riak as well as the tokens that make it possible for users to authenticate with Copious via their Facebook or Twitter accounts. Copious now stores hundreds of thousands of keys in Riak.
Copious found that Riak’s key/value data model was a natural fit for their authentication scheme and that it was easy to set up and run on Amazon Web Services. They run an HTTP service in front of Riak that presents data in the appropriate form and handles events between the front-end application and the backend data storage.
“Operating in a cloud environment, our infrastructure must be resilient to failure. Sometimes machines or even entire availability zones just disappear, and Riak’s fault-tolerant design means we remain available despite these failures. Riak is one component we never worry about, and requires much less operational work than other datastores,” said Robert Zuber, co-founder of Copious.
Copious is one of the many companies now using a polyglot approach to their platform – using Riak alongside MySQL, Redis, SOLR, and other technologies depending on the problem they need to solve. They chose to use Riak for their social login functionality because of its operational simplicity, which allows them to easily scale up without sharding and provides the high availability required for a smooth user experience. Based on their success with Riak, Zuber has said that they are looking to move more data to Riak in the future.
You can sign up now on Copious to earn $10 off your first $20+ purchase, plus the added bonus of knowing that Riak is in the background helping the site do its magic. If you’re in San Francisco, make sure to attend our Riak meetup on Wednesday, February 13, where Copious will be presenting how they use Riak alongside other datastores.
To learn more about how Riak can benefit your eCommerce or retail platform, join our webcast, “Riak on Retail” on February 8th!
August 9, 2012
ideel is one of the fastest growing retailers in the United States with more than 5 million members and 3,000 brand partners. Every morning at 11:00 a.m. ET, members flood the site to shop the latest trends. The event-based shopping experience generates similar results to the release of hot concert tickets, with members flocking to make purchases and pushing loads on the application in excess of 3,000 requests per second, with more than 700 “add to carts” per second.
To ensure that the site is highly responsive, ideel pushes everything into memory across several memcached servers. If however the cache in one or more memcached servers is inadvertently dumped, the user experience becomes degraded, translating into lost revenue and negative sentiment in the market. Riak provides a highly reliable, persistent cache store to safeguard against just such an event.
According to David Mitchell, ideel’s director of technical operators, “Riak is one of those things that just works and doesn’t need our attention on a day-to-day basis — saving both time and money. As for service and support, I can’t say I’ve seen anything quite like the amazing response time we’ve witnessed from Basho. The technology is rock-solid, enabling us to keep up with member demand and maintain a high level of satisfaction. Basho and Riak have exceeded our expectations.”
Read the full story here.
Thanks for reading!