Pythian supports Mapp Digital in their cloud strategy

Company Overview

Mapp Digital is one of the world’s largest independent digital marketing technology companies. Their customer-centric marketing platform combines email, mobile, and social marketing, leveraging an integrated data management platform. Headquartered in San Diego, Mapp supports more than 3,000 customers worldwide across a broad range of industries. Top brands include PepsiCo, KFC, Thomas Cook, Deutsche Telekom, Xerox, and Lloyds Banking Group.

Business Needs

Mapp Digital’s Customer Engagement Platform is storing and utilizing large volumes of data. In order to increase the performance of the platform specifically during peak times (for example on Black Friday), refresh the current hardware platform, and to consolidate different databases, Mapp Digital decided to look at going with a virtualized server model for their eMS product (former Blue Hornet Platform). With Pythian’s help they landed on Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Cloud Compute (E2C) for hosting their Oracle relational database management system (RDBMS) and AWS Relational Database Service (RDS) for their MySQL database management system. Given the breadth of Mapp Digitals customer base the sheer size of the Oracle RDBMS was daunting—more than 50 TB. All the transactional client data of Blue Hornet’s eMS customers needed to be transplanted smoothly to AWS, maintaining strict data privacy and security mechanisms. Having enough storage was a serious consideration. So was the ongoing management in the cloud and minimizing outages. It was essential that the migration be carefully planned to ensure minimal downtime and a clean data transfer of the very large database.
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Pythian had been providing managed services to Mapp Digital (formerly Blue Hornet) since 2010, so they were the natural choice for a services partner. The Pythian Database Services team helped Mapp Digital navigate the whole process, from initial consultations on the feasibility of AWS through developing and implementing a migration plan, then performing testing. Pythian helped evaluate multiple options, including sharding, migration strategies, and performance comparisons. In addition, Pythian provided cutover testing and escalation assistance—and continues to monitor the database environments for outages while making recommendations on configurations for optimizing availability, and opportunities to save on cost. Pythian experts drew on previous experience with other clients to ensure that Mapp worked within the appropriate parameters of  AWS Elastic Block Store  (EBS)  to avoid creating a fragile configuration.
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The cutover from in-house company data centers to AWS was completed on schedule in August of 2016 and went smoothly—with database downtime of only four hours. The newer, more powerful hardware in the cloud has resulted in the Mapp application operating at twice the speed. And using cloud services instead of leasing equipment has saved money. Mapp Digital benefited from Pythian’s DBA Services in the cloud. Pythian was able to draw on their extensive experience managing databases on cloud platforms to resolve issues before they became problems, including: anticipating storage capacity needs, recommending improvements in handling connections to the database, and proactively identifying the root cause of a storage issue and resolving it. Pythian continues to provide database services to Mapp Digital, working as an extension of their team, constantly monitoring their databases, and meeting weekly to review status and determine priorities.
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Director IT Operations, Mapp Digital

“Pythian has been supporting our databases for multiple years, and knows the complexities and requirements specific to our environment. Collaborating with Pythian, we were able to successfully plan, evaluate, test, and migrate our databases from an on-site datacenter to AWS Cloud.”


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