"Hosted Graphite is cost effective, doesn’t require maintenance, and means we discover business issues quickly, which saves engineering time and improves productivity."

Shahar Kobrinsky, VP of Architecture and Scale

Eyeview is a video marketing technology company, headquartered in New York. The industry leader in outcome-based video marketing, they deliver the most relevant message to consumers across television, desktop, mobile and Facebook. Eyeview serves a range of top brands, including P&G, Walgreens, Honda, and BMW. They use Hosted Graphite to keep track of all their monitoring.

The technical problem

We had been hosting our own Graphite, but ran into scale and maintenance overhead that became a major drain on technical resources.

Shahar, the VP of Architecture and Scale, leads a team of 30 engineers. According to him, “the team monitor everything from system metrics such as CPU, disk space, memory and network to business KPIs like how many ads we are serving on each campaign, how many requests are being evaluated in the system and how many users have a piece of information we care about.” The team had been using graphite for their monitoring, but realised the limitations of hosting it in-house–not least the engineer time required to keep it up and running. Unsurprisingly, these issues became more and more pressing as the company got bigger. When the search began for a new monitoring tool, the team had several requirements:

  • Seamless interface with Graphite: As Eyeview were already using their own Graphite installation, they wanted a tool that would work with Graphite to ease migration and save time.
  • Transparent pricing: “We were concerned about spiralling costs,” says Shahar, “so we were looking for something with a clear billing structure to fit our budgeting plan.”
  • Easy migration: Although the team was getting bigger and bigger – it’s grown by 20% in the last few years – Shahar didn’t want to allocate valuable resources on the migration to a new service. The team required a tool with the all advanced features they needed – but without a complex set-up.

The solution

Eyeview now use Hosted Graphite for all of their monitoring, and not just the Architecture and Scale team. As Shahar puts it: “stats and graphing play a major role in tracking business trends as well as system health and even infrastructure cost tracking. Hosted Graphite serves not only engineers at Eyeview but also campaign managers, account managers, analysts and data scientists.”

Eyeview’s real-time bidding engine has grown to handle more than 500k auctions per second and needless to say, understanding what’s going in such a huge system is not a trivial task. For Shahar, “having a reliable system, that is easy to work with and that can tell the entire ‘story’ (system & business) without in-house complexities is invaluable.”

Shahar found an unexpected benefit in how useful Hosted Graphite is for debugging. As he puts it, “when you have a distributed system too large to really deal with logs, stats tell you the story very well.” The team also use Hosted Graphite for real time tracking, and rely on in-built alerting to make sure swift action is taken when something strange happens to their metrics.

Shahar counts robustness and high-level support as two standout benefits: “There’s been almost zero issues with uptime. Reliability is great”, says Shahar, “and every time I have a question, I get an answer from support after just a couple of hours. Their technical knowledge is excellent.”

The result

Time to resolve campaign issues has reduced dramatically.

Rather than opening a support ticket asking engineers to dig into logs and code, campaign managers can now view problems with a specific campaign themselves. According to Shahar: “Questions like ‘Why aren’t we serving that campaign?’ ‘Is it because we can’t find audiences?’ ‘Is there a setup issue?’ can be resolved in the Hosted Graphite app without the need for a support ticket. This has saved everyone a lot of time.”

For Shahar, this streamlining of effort is one of the reasons it’s easy to justify the cost of moving from in-house to a hosted tool: “as well as discovering business issues as quickly as possible, moving to Hosted Graphite generates significant cost savings by freeing up precious engineering time.”