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Moonfruit

With tens of thousands of users hitting our system at any given moment, we need to ensure that they have a very positive user experience. The combination of Sybase ASE and Replication Server is key to our ability to deliver that kind of experience on a continuous basis, which is obviously great for our customers and our business.

Eirik Pettersen
Chief Technology Officer
Moonfruit

Moonfruit, a UK-based Web site development and hosting company, realized that database reliability, scalability and performance would be critical success factors for the business. To address these vital requirements, it has deployed multiple instances of Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) databases as well as Sybase Replication Server to keep them synchronized.

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Download the full success story in PDF format.

For Moonfruit, Sybase Proves to be “The Obvious Choice”
When most people type a Web address into their browsers they don’t give any more thought to what’s going on in the background than they do when they turn on the television. They just enter the address or click on a bookmark and there’s the Web site or page they want, in the wink of an eye. It’s as though the sites and pages are sitting right there at the ready behind their screens just waiting for the opportunity to appear.

In fact, that’s not an entirely incorrect way of thinking about it, except for the fact that the rich visuals that appear on demand on users’ screens actually reside as data in databases hundreds or thousands of miles away.

If you’re in the Web development and hosting business, the faster and more reliably people can access that data – either to build and update their sites or to visit those sites – the more successful your company is likely to be. Therefore, the performance and availability of your databases are extremely critical success factors.

Sybase Proven Performance, Scalability and Reliability Are Key to Business Success and Peace of Mind
Moonfruit was founded in August 1999 to allow people to share their passions online regardless of their skills and experience. Since then, more than 2.5 million sites have been built by businesses and individuals around the world using Moonfruit’s Web site building tool – SiteMaker – and powered by Sybase ASE.

By breaking down technological barriers in this way, Moonfruit enables any user to build a high quality, continuously available Web site simply and quickly, and therein lies much of the company’s success.

From the beginning, Moonfruit knew that a reliable, high-performance, scalable, and feature-rich relational database management system would be key to its success. Although in its earliest days the company used a flat file system, it soon moved to ASE.

“I originally worked in the financial services industry,” recalls Eirik Pettersen, chief technology officer at Moonfruit, “and so I was very familiar with Sybase, as it is used by so many banks and other financial services companies. Based on that earlier experience, I knew ASE was stable and fast and that the company was solid. We deployed it in 2000 and Sybase has been the backbone of our system ever since.”

Moonfruit did evaluate other options, of course. It looked at MySQL and Oracle, but felt that from multiple perspectives – performance, stability, functionality and cost – that Sybase was “the obvious choice.”

Looking back at that decision now, Pettersen is confident Moonfruit made the right decision. “At the time MySQL didn’t have things like stored procedures, and that was a concern for us. As it turned out, a sister company of ours did implement MySQL and found itself dealing with performance and scalability issues, data corruption and other problems. As far as Oracle, we felt it was very inefficient, requiring significant resources in terms of both administration and hardware, as well as being  expensive overall. 

“Ultimately, the decision to go with Sybase was based on its proven performance, scalability and reliability – we really wanted peace of mind,” Pettersen adds. “We were also reassured by the fact that Sybase as a company would be around for the long haul and that if we needed assistance to fully leverage its technology, which we did at times, we could count on Sybase Professional Services.”

Replication Server Adds Resilience
Data for its customers’ Websites – including the Website name, members, pages; features such as forums, blogs and polls; customer management systems; billing history and more – is stored in a single ASE database running on a Linux-based server at Moonfruit’s UK headquarters. Certain uploaded content, such as pdfs, spreadsheets and video, are kept in and served up directly from file storage. However, the metadata for that content is stored in ASE.

Currently, Moonfruit is in the midst of a project to further enhance the resilience of its database layer by implementing a standby ASE and synchronizing it with the primary ASE using Sybase Replication Server. The addition of this standby database provides Moonfruit with a number of important benefits. It enables the company to rapidly failover to the standby in the event of a system disruption. It allows the company to perform maintenance without an impact on the availability of its customers’ sites, and if needed, it can be used for load balancing to ensure optimal performance. 

Moonfruit is also planning to implement a replicated ASE database in the United States to improve performance and the end-user experience for US-based visitors to Moonfruit-hosted Web sites.

Prior to implementing its standby ASE database and Replication Server, Moonfruit relied on a “low-tech” recovery solution that involved a manual data dump once a day. In the event of a system or database outage, the company would have to manually reload the data on its standby hardware and manually bring transactions up to date.

Sybase Helps Ensure a Very Positive User Experience
“We take great pride in the ease-of-use we provide our customers in building and updating their Web sites,” says Pettersen. “We also recognize that our service has to be up and running 100 percent of the time. We know that speed and the responsiveness of the sites we host is very important to our customers and to the visitors to their sites. With tens of thousands of users hitting our system at any given moment, we need to ensure that they have a very positive user experience. The combination of Sybase ASE and Replication Server are essential to our ability to deliver that kind of experience on a continuous basis. Replication Server replaces the manual solution we’d been using, and enables us to do an instant failrver r

 



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