SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Greg Ness, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Adform Scales to Meet Real-Time Demand While Cutting Server Requirements in Half Using Aerospike Flash-Optimized In-Memory NoSQL Database

Today, Aerospike announced that Adform—a premier partner for media agencies, trading desks, advertisers and publishers—relies on Aerospike to power both its real-time trading engine and dynamic creative engine for multi-screen marketing. Using the open source Aerospike flash-optimized in-memory NoSQL database, Adform has cut its server requirements in half while providing predictable real-time responses and scaling to meet the company’s exponential growth.

Headquartered in Denmark, Adform enables media agencies, trading desks, advertisers and publishers to easily scale and deliver programmatic display advertising, rich media, and video, across desktop and mobile devices. Notably, Adform lets clients get control of their data, so they can automatically use all their ad-serving and site data without passing this to external parties.

The high demand for Adform’s solution has enabled the company to double in size each of the last few years, Adform now has offices in 15 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania and Belarus.

The Right Database for the Right Job

Since 2002, Adform has relied on a range of databases, including Apache Cassandra and MongoDB, along with data warehouse and analytics systems to support its platform. For years, Cassandra databases drove real-time trading and dynamic creative engines. However, as the company scaled to meet rapidly growing client demand, the high number of servers Cassandra required was becoming too expensive to maintain.

While Cassandra continued to support other areas of its business, Adform began to seek a more cost-effective way to scale its real-time engines while maintaining predictable performance. Ultimately, the company turned to the Aerospike in-memory NoSQL database, which uses a patent-pending combination of indexes in RAM and data in direct-attached SSDs for near in-memory speed at flash storage prices.

“We use a number of different databases, which we find useful for different purposes. For our real-time trading and dynamic creative engines, Aerospike is unbeatable,” said Jakob Bak, Adform CTO. “Not only does Aerospike provide stable and predictable low latency, but it also delivers the lowest possible latency in a system that is easily scalable and manageable.”

Aerospike Combines Speed With Cost-Effective Scale

Adform now powers its real-time trading and dynamic creative engines with Aerospike, relying on the database’s key-value store (KVS) capabilities, serving as the user profile and supporting the data management platform (DMP), ID mapping, and dynamic creative optimization.

Adform’s real-time trading cluster processes a few hundred thousand requests per second, a majority of which are auction-based requests where Aerospike supports the calculation of bids on several thousand bidding strategies and campaigns. Meanwhile, its creative engine uses much of the same data for determining which product or creative design is the best to display to each individual user.

An Aerospike cluster is maintained in two Adform data centers, which are connected via an optical line. Running on bare metal, each Aerospike cluster now uses 96GB of data in DRAM along with 1.7TB of data on Intel SSDs. All user interactions with online ads are stored in Aerospike. Then this data, combined with additional data from a large Hadoop cluster, is used to make bidding decisions in real time. Overall, Aerospike handles more than 200,000 operations per second with a latency of less than 1 millisecond.

"With Aerospike, we have been able to drastically cut down on the number of Cassandra servers, which provided a great cost reduction,” Mr. Bak notes. “Even more important is the super fast KVS and extraordinary predictability we get with Aerospike, providing the responsiveness our clients require to compete in the crowded Internet and mobile markets."

“Adform is at the forefront in delivering programmatic rich media, multiscreen advertising that is personalized for individual users,” said Brian Bulkowski, Aerospike founder and CTO. “We are excited by Adform’s success in scaling with our flash-optimized in-memory NoSQL database while providing the predictable, real-time performance to immediately create the customized experiences that translate into higher rates of success.”

About Adform

Adform is a premier partner for media agencies, trading desks, advertisers and publishers, offering the world’s only programmatic brand-led media platform to support all aspects of multi-screen brand advertising. Adform’s end-to-end ad tech stack closes the loop by integrating media planning, buying, optimization and reporting into one place covering full-featured demand-side platform, rich media and ad serving. Adform was established 2002 in Denmark and now has offices in 15 countries including the US, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. Visit http://www.adform.com for more information, or follow us on Twitter @adforminsider.

About Aerospike

Aerospike is the open source front-edge database powering a new generation of interactive, real-time Web and mobile applications that operate at global scale. It is the first flash-optimized in-memory NoSQL database to combine transactions and "hot" analytics with strong ACID consistency and enterprise-grade reliability. Purpose-built to make scaling easy and affordable, it enables all developers to take advantage of predictable, sub-millisecond latency for distributed caching, session management, user profile, and key value store use cases. In production non-stop for nearly four years, Aerospike is deployed at real-time big data companies like AppNexus, eXelate, Chango and [x+1]. Aerospike is headquartered in Silicon Valley. Investors include New Enterprise Associates, Columbus Nova Technology Partners, Alsop Louie, and Draper Associates. Download the open source Aerospike Community Edition at www.aerospike.com, and follow @aerospikedb.

Aerospike is a registered trademark of Aerospike, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the properties of their respective owners.

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