Badoo and Exasol

A long and fruitful relationship

Badoo, the global dating app used by hundreds of millions, finds a match in Exasol for data analytics


Challenges

Badoo was struggling to scale its database as its volume of data grew

Solutions

A 20-node Exasol cluster that stores and analyzes 350 terabytes of data

Benefits

Real-time feedback when setting up the A-B tests

With Exasol you can run anything. It handles MicroStrategy’s SQL with ease and its extensibility is impressive; we use it to run Loading...Python, Loading...Java and C++ right there in the database.

Artem Ivanov Director of Business Intelligence
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How long it takes Exasol to calculate intersections on hundreds of millions of users

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Monthly active users

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Messages per day

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New people sign up each day

Background

Originally launched in 2006, Badoo has grown to become one of the world’s largest dating apps. It allows people to chat, share interests, match with others, as well as upload photos and videos. It currently has 391 million users signed up to its platform, which operates in 190 countries and is available in 47 different languages. Badoo’s 60 million monthly active users send 350 million messages per day, and each day more than 300,000 new people sign up for a Badoo experience.

  • Industry Social Media
  • Application Loading...Web Analytics
  • Database Exasol, Loading...Hadoop, MySQL
  • BI Tool Microstrategy
  • ETL Tool Own application, Plain SQL Scripts
Case study background details

The journey

You can use our analytics database with our private cloud, any public cloud, on premises – or as part of a hybrid deployment.

The challenge

At its heart, Badoo is a data-led business. Everything it does is based on data, which gives it the edge on its rivals. Analyzing data goes beyond just generating matches between potential partners, it extends into every department, including customer retention, and underpins extensive A-B testing of new features. As a result, the business intelligence (BI) department is one of the biggest and fastest growing areas of the organization.

Analyzing the volume of data generated every day by the platform is crucial to ensuring the best possible experience for Badoo’s users. Underpinning the BI infrastructure is a 20-node Exasol cluster that stores and analyzes 350 terabytes of data.

Growing with Exasol

Badoo has been using Exasol since 2014. At the time, Badoo was struggling to scale its database as its volume of data grew. It knew that it would only be a matter of months before its existing solution ground to a halt. To address this, it decided to re-evaluate its software base.

The solution

Badoo realized that one vendor could not do it all, so it used a best-practice selection process to ensure every vendor it used was both best-of-breed in its own right, and worked together in harmony to create an ecosystem that best matched Badoo’s exacting requirements.

Its proof of concept process was rigorous. The team at Badoo set about measuring and comparing Loading...analytic databases on multiple metrics, from security and performance to extensibility. Exasol was head-and-shoulders above its competitors in most criteria.

Artem Ivanov, Director of Business Intelligence at Badoo said: “What first stood out with Exasol when we evaluated the different databases was how easy it was to administer. Not only did it require little maintenance effort, the database’s internal views were amazing, Exasol has thought hard about how to make our lives easier and all the basics have been taken care of.”

“With Exasol you can run anything. It handles Microstrategy’s SQL with ease and its extensibility is impressive, we use it to run Loading...Python, Loading...Java and C++ right there in the database. Anything you can run in Linux, you can run in Exasol in parallel. We don’t need to set constraints on our users or pre-process a large query, the platform is so robust. Fast too.”

Badoo is one of Exasol’s most progressive customers, it was amongst the first to move to version six and was immediately able to take advantage of new features. It is often amongst the first to upgrade the minor releases and makes use of many of Exasol’s advanced capabilities. It recently upgraded the size of the Exasol cluster from 10 to 20 nodes, and is well positioned to scale for the next few years of growth.

Ivanov continued: “We have direct access to the Exasol team. If we find a bug, we report it and they will fix it immediately. It gives us confidence to move quickly with upgrades, our QA cycle is very quick as a result. The customer service is superb. It’s more of a partnership, we work together to suggest features and build a better product.”

The benefits for badoo

Badoo’s platform development using A-B testing

Reviews of the Badoo platform often remark on the excellent user interface, which has come about from thousands of minor tweaks to every aspect of the user experience. This is possible because of Badoo’s extensive use of A-B testing, which means it is constantly evolving and improving. The testing platform runs on Exasol – the only way to ensure the tests don’t collide is real-time analysis and feedback.

Ivanov explained: “We run hundreds of A-B tests in parallel on our dedicated framework, we have too many to manage manually.

“As so many tests are taking place simultaneously, it’s important to ensure that they do not overlap. If two tests are testing changes in the same part of the app and the same users see both tests, they will overlap and the results will be invalid. Exasol gives us real-time feedback when we’re setting up the A-B tests.”

“It’s not always obvious where the intersection lies. To give an example, there may be a pre-existing test of ‘All UK 20-30 year olds’ and I may want to run a test aimed at ‘all women in UK and France’ as an another group. Exasol allows you to calculate this intersection in a few seconds on hundreds of millions of users and give an exact percentage of overlap. If the overlap is too high, we can change the test or delay it until the existing test is complete.”

The future

Badoo and Exasol: A long and fruitful relationship

Aaron Auld, CEO, Exasol commented: “Badoo is an excellent example of a new generation of data-led business that has used data analytics to constantly improve how it operates and provides a better user experience. I am in no doubt that’s why it has become so successful with a customer base of not just millions, but hundreds of millions. With smart data-led decisions, businesses can be the best they can be in their field, and Badoo has done this in the world of online dating.”

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