November 18th, 2013

Dave Connors: Vice President of Operations at Constant Contact


With more than half a million customers, Constant Contact provides online marketing tools, including email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, local deals, digital storefronts, and online surveys to help small businesses generate new customers, repeat business, and referrals.

Using a legacy DB2 relational database, the maximum amount of historical detail data being stored was only 90 days. The technical team needed to keep at least two years worth of data to support their new social media products, and do so cost-effectively. The team realized this would not be a good fit for their legacy database architecture so they had to look at new technologies.

The need for scale, speed, and support for multiple data centers brought the technical team at Constant Contact to Apache Cassandra.  In describing their criteria and search for an RDBMS replacement, Connors said, “Adoption, community support, scalability, and multi-data center support were primary criteria when choosing Cassandra over other NoSQL providers. Additionally, the ease of development was a major plus. In comparison, other options quickly fell out of the running.”

Currently, the company has six clusters running that support both development and production. They will soon bring online their second production cluster, each made up of 72 nodes that span two data centers primarily used for content storage and activity tracking. The content storage application holds all the user-generated content for email campaigns and other marketing products, with the data being HTML in nature.The tracking application deals with data that is time-series in format. It manages all the various customer interactions and actions, including clicks, opens, sends, and other types of event data.

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