Digital River Speeds Global eCommerce Flow with Real-Time Services

A leader in global seller services, Digital River makes it easy for companies to grow their global ecommerce revenue. The company acts as the merchant of record for its customers, taking the financial and legal responsibility of selling online. One integration with Digital River covers all global payments, including international taxes, compliance, fraud prevention, and localized payment orchestration.

Digital River

Products & Services

DataStax Astra DB

Industry

Financial Services & Insurance, Retail/eCommerce/Wholesale

Location

Minnetonka, MN
Contact Sales

60% reduction in total cost of ownership

Increases developer productivity significantly

Establishes reference architectures and best practices

Zero time spent by Digital River staff applying security patches

Reduces infrastructure provisioning time from eight weeks to a few hours

Eliminates need to over-provision to meet peak volumes

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Digital River set out 25 years ago to give software providers a simple way to offer their products online. The idea caught on and companies were suddenly selling direct to consumers around the globe.

As ecommerce applications became common and sellers of all stripes moved online, Digital River saw the opportunity to serve this large market. After modernizing its tech stack, Digital River now offers API- and microservices-based solutions that can easily integrate with ecommerce engines.

Along with this modern move to online shopping came new expectations for the customer experience. When customers browsing online select the products they want to buy, they want an instant inventory check and checkout process. "That kind of real-time response requires a scalable and highly available infrastructure, which is why we rely on DataStax Astra DB," says Saladi Naidu, Digital River director of distributed data and cloud technologies.

The Challenge

A great online checkout experience requires very fast operations on the back end to check inventory, calculate local price and taxes, and check for fraud. "Real-time availability of data makes a big difference," says Naidu. "It is absolutely critical for fraud detection, which protects our customers and ourselves."

This need for real-time data is what pushed the company to move away from relational databases and toward a more highly available database designed to support 24/7 global operations. It chose Apache Cassandra for its speed and reliability.

Digital River began managing open-source Cassandra directly but encountered challenges in keeping the software up-to-date and the underlying infrastructure supported and patched for security. In addition, provisioning was a growing problem, taking too much time and coming at a high cost.

"When we were managing everything ourselves, we had to provision infrastructure for peak demand," says Naidu. "We needed a better way, and we found DataStax Astra DB."

The Solution

Digital River understood that for online shopping, its service availability was the top priority. Right behind is velocity—the volume and speed of data the company needs to handle is enormous. Digital River had to scale with demand—at the right cost.

Naidu and his team quickly turned to DataStax as the leader in supporting Cassandra databases. A multi-cloud, serverless database-as-a-service, Astra DB makes it easy to build with and operate Cassandra. Its multi-region capabilities were ideal for Digital River's global seller service and with cloud-agnostic technology, Astra DB can deliver its service on any cloud.

From a security and compliance perspective, Astra DB also stands out with its PCI certification, which Digital River needs to conduct its business. "We can answer questions from PCI auditors and provide better compliance from a security standpoint," says Baidu.

Following a three-month proof of concept, the team rolled out the full solution in early 2022. Adopting Astra DB provided immediate benefit. "We no longer have to spend time applying security patches and upgrades," says Naidu. Digital River has also been able to dramatically reduce the EC2 instances in its AWS infrastructure.

The Results

Digital River gained an overall 60% reduction in the total cost of ownership, compared to when it was managing Cassandra directly. Because Astra DB is priced on a usage model, Digital River pays based on its traffic. "Astra DB is an overall win-win from a cost reduction, manageability, and supportability perspective," says Naidu.

Developers no longer spend time on security patching upgrades, giving engineers time to focus on new features. Developer productivity is higher too, now that DataStax consulting is available to the team. When questions arise, DataStax provides recommendations. "With DataStax Astra DB we have access to an industry leader, reference architectures, and best practices," says Naidu. "This is a great help to our application engineering teams."

Provisioning is simpler as well. When a new customer comes on board, Digital River can provision databases with Astra DB very quickly. In the past, the company had to make estimates and wait three to eight weeks compared to a few hours with Astra DB. "The speed of provisioning with Astra DB gives us a competitive advantage in time to market," says Naidu.

Similarly, as the holiday season approaches, Naidu and his team can rest assured that the infrastructure will scale to meet demand, even at peak volumes. In the past, the company invested significant time upscaling the infrastructure, at a steep cost.

Digital River continues its history of innovation, now venturing into machine learning for better subscription rates and billing options. "We are always evolving the customer experience and at the center of it all is real-time data and DataStax Astra DB," says Naidu.