ThreatMetrix – Replacing Cassandra: Digital Transformation World’s Largest Digital Identity Network

- Matthias Baumhof, VP Worldwide Engineering, ThreatMetrix
- Nick Blievers, Senior Director Engineering, ThreatMetrix

Matthias: ThreatMextrix is a company that does authentication and fraud prevention for online transactions.
Matthias: We are in the business of making real-time decision, and our customers are typically customers in the e-commerce and financial services that have the need to make a decision in a very, very small amount of time, and we help them to make this decision to our best ability, and that’s where we need a fast and high-performant database.
Nicholas: The primary challenge that we have had recently is performance, so latency and consistency of response times. Having a very low-latency response is important for our customers so that they can make the right decision to avoid fraud in a short period of time.
Nicholas: The longer an operation takes on an online website the more card-abandonment there will be, so that costs our customers money. If there’s a spinning wheel or something for too long then people will abandon their transaction.
Matthias: We are basically running against a wall. With our previous database we were operating at a request duration that would hurt our customers, because they couldn’t make a risk decision in the allocated time window that they need to.
Matthias: The challenges that we face with our business is that customers cut us off at a certain millisecond range, say, 300 milliseconds. If we are slower than 300 milliseconds our customers cannot make a risk decision, and we just want to prevent that.
Matthias: Aerospike helps us to be way under that range and to return in almost all cases with a very low latency so that all risk decisions can be made.
Nicholas: Aerospike on a technology basis allows us to do more complex risk calculations in less time. A more thorough risk calculation allows better accuracy for our customers, to avoid friction in their transactions, and ultimately avoid losing money in fraud.
Nicholas: When we implemented we ended up reducing our cluster size from 96 nodes down to 28 nodes, and at the same time reducing our average request latency from approximately 120 milliseconds down to 30 milliseconds.
Nicholas: By using Aerospike it allows us to take full advantage of the hardware and know that we’re not hitting any bottlenecks within the software, so any advances or improvements in the storage hardware will be directly reflected.
Matthias: It’s a cool technology because they hold what they claim and they work together with you to solve any problems. We are simply in a latency game and they are the best in the latency game.
Matthias: Aerospike does what it says. Aerospike just works.