Aiven manages hundreds of database servers for Talon.One

CASE STUDY

Without Aiven, we’d have to manage hundreds of database servers at high availability ourselves.

Laurens Van Wiele

Head of Product at Talon.One

Overview

Talon.One started in 2015 with the realisation that marketers at every company were limited in the types of promotions they could run by technical considerations. Anything but the most basic global bulk discount needed programmers to hard-code things like coupon numbers into the pricing system. Talon.One started offering a way to easily set up promotion campaigns. Today they are a global company with ~100 corporate-size customers, running an easy-to-use and reliable promotions configuration service.

Uses: PostgreSQL

Cloud: Google Cloud Platform

Industry: Marketing Tech

Year founded: 2015

Company size: 60 employees

Products used
PostgreSQL
Hosted on
Google Cloud Platform

The Challenge

Talon.One faced multiple challenges that they knew they’d struggle to meet on their own. Their promotion configuration services, offered to consumers at the point of sale either online or at a physical location, would have to be able to process data in the blink of an eye. Consistent performance would be absolutely business-critical, and that needed a solid, high-performance setup. 

The trouble was setting it up and managing it. The system they had in mind would need an army of qualified programmers, and even then an in-house solution wouldn’t be as flexible as they wanted to be.

Besides, the solution they needed had to be more than just reliable and highly available, it had to be optimised for variable loads. The nature of the business meant that the loads would peak and sink as promotions ran their course, but performance needed to be constant. Moreover, each customer needed its own separate database to prevent high traffic loads for one customer interfering with the others’ service. 

All of this ruled out any in-house, on-premises concept and sent the Talon.One team scouting for managed cloud solutions. With a managed service, they could offload the infrastructure investment onto the service provider, along with the operative risks.

But even then they ran into one more problem. They discovered that most of the cloud solutions they tested were running old software versions, and were not compatible with the solution they had designed.

Fortunately, they found Aiven.

Using Aiven, security has been just much less of a headache

Laurens Van Wiele

Head of Product

The Solution

Talon.One quickly discovered that Aiven would in fact be able to accommodate all their requirements out of the box with a versatile, flexible, comprehensive managed service running the latest software versions. So they built their own platform on top of Aiven’s DBaaS platform. 

“Aiven has been with us from day one. They are the reason we’re even able to offer the Talon.One platform,” says Laurens Van Wiele, Head of Product at Talon.One. “Without them, we’d have to manage hundreds of database servers at high availability ourselves. Instead, we could use the relatively small team that we had at the time and just focus on the product we were developing.”

A customer company can set up loyalty programs, coupon campaigns, targeted discounts and so on. They can define complex eligibility criteria designed for maximal consumer impact. The criteria are then applied in real-time when the consumer makes a purchase. Talon.One provides the technological layer between the campaign logic and the consumer transaction.

Talon.One’s customers plug their own systems into the platform. The API listens to incoming events and sends the relevant data over to the customer’s dedicated database server. That’s where Aiven comes in: that dedicated Postgres database is spun up through Aiven in whatever cloud and region is physically closest to the customer.

Talon.One solution diagram

At the core of the Talon.One solution is their Promotion Engine. It validates the incoming events, checks them against the rules defined by the customer, and returns the appropriate effect to the customer system. For Talon.One’s customers, it’s easy to configure these rules using their Campaign Manager UI.

Aiven can cope with the fluctuating write-heavy load. Talon.One is easily able to upscale, downscale or change clouds or regions in response to changing needs. “With Aiven, it’s easy for us to expand into new markets,” says Laurens. 

Because Aiven has a comprehensive set of compliances and an ISO 27001 certification, it’s easy for Talon.One to offer a fully compliant data pipeline to their customers. No extra certifications are required when Aiven’s part of the system already has the requisite compliance documentation. The same goes for security: Talon.One can fully rely on Aiven’s data practices being safe. “Using Aiven, security has been just much less of a headache,” Laurens says.

The Outcome

Today Talon.One has approximately 100 corporate customers, and their databases go up to a terabyte in size for each customer. The data traffic is in the order of 60 million API calls a month per customer, and that traffic isn’t coming in steadily but in floods and trickles. The system needs to be able to respond quickly in either condition. It’s easy to see why Talon.One prioritises flexibility and scalability.

Talon.One is happy with Aiven’s comprehensive, secure data services that are easy to configure and generate hardly any maintenance load to operate smoothly. They also like the level of support they receive when they want to change their service configuration, like add disk space or increase backup retention time.

“I would definitely recommend Aiven to a company that relies on heavy usage of databases,” Laurens says. “They can use Aiven to ramp up without using too many resources to build a database infrastructure from the ground up.”

I would definitely recommend Aiven.

Laurens Van Wiele

Head of Product

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