August 13th, 2013

By 

Iovation

“We picked Cassandra to be able to scale the services out and grow the services linearly both in terms of just being able to do it and predictable cost growth. So, one of the motivators for replacing Oracle was the ease of maintenance and growth.”

 - Greg Cooper, Senior Software Engineer at Iovation

Greg Cooper

Greg Cooper Senior Software Engineer at Iovation

 

 

Today we have with us Gregory Cooper, Senior Development Engineer at Iovation. To start things off, what does Iovation do?

Iovation’s a service that other customers will incorporate into their business to help detect fraud and it works in real time trying to find fraudulent accounts. You probably use Iovation services indirectly through other customers’ websites. As the device reputation authority, we’re able to expose and predict trustworthiness from a consumer’s interactions across the broad online landscape, including retail, financial services, telecommunications, social networking, logistics, dating, gaming, and gambling.

 

And how does Apache Cassandra work into the mix there at Iovation?

Apache Cassandra was actually picked and used before I got here; I’ve been at Iovation about two years and just before I arrived they integrated Cassandra 0.6 into the mix to do some of the real time traffic for a lot of the device recognition applications.  Since, we’ve used it in a couple of our other services we have several clusters of Cassandra 1.1.6. Right now we’re using it primarily for our real time services and fast responses and that sort of thing and it’s been great.

 

What was the motivation for using Cassandra?  Were there some other technologies that you evaluated against or ones that you had switched to Cassandra from?

It was primarily a relational database shop before they got into Cassandra before I started here and they picked Cassandra to be able to scale the services out and grow the services linearly both in terms of just being able to do it and predictable cost growth.  So, one of the motivators for replacing Oracle was the ease of maintenance and growth. With Oracle we had stability issues once the data sets got really huge and that’s been great with Cassandra.

 

Can you share a little bit of insight into what your deployment looks like.

We have three of our own data centers so it’s really a private cloud kind of scenario so three data centers with data replicated in each place and we have three clusters in production, one of them is a 24-node cluster with eight in each data center for our reputation service and then we have a 12-node cluster with four nodes in each data center for one of our services and we have another one, a little smaller one for velocity based things.  It’s two in each data center. I think they’re all on 1.1.6 Cassandra and we’re pretty excited to dig into 1.2 Cassandra.  That’s kind of where we are with what we have deployed.

 

Is there anything in 1.2 specifically that you’re excited about?

Definitely, one of the big things is the ability to grow the cluster without having to double it; right now we kind of have this paradigm where if we want to grow a cluster the easiest thing is to double it just to get the tokens to keep from having to move around our data.  With the virtual nodes and the token assignments we’re excited to be able to grow the cluster by single and piecemeal nodes and by a couple machines rather than double it.  That’s one very exciting thing about it.

 

What’s your experience with the Apache Cassandra community, whether it be the physical or the virtual?

I’m just starting to get into the community aspect of it a little bit more lately.  In Portland we’ve got our first meet up tonight actually. My employer, Iovation, has been kind enough to offer to host it.

 

Is there anything else that you’d like to add before you go?

 I don’t believe so.  I guess one of the things I would add is it’s really nice to see the stability just gets better and better with each release and every time a new release comes out I’m really impressed with the stability and simplicity that’s introduced from the previous versions, it’s been great.