Smooch Labs

SOLVE: INSPIRED SMOOCH LABS Like many startups with highly popular apps facing similar, rapid-growth situations, Smooch Labs started off using a backend development software that it would soon outgrow.

“This was a vendor tool that had allowed us to get out a rapid prototype, get in the market and test the waters,” said Bryan Welfel, co-founder of Smooch Labs. “As we continued to grow, we realized that we were going to need something more robust.” After experiencing repeated problems with scalability, the Smooch Labs team began to seriously research what their data-store “best next move” would be. During the search, they noticed a Rackspace::SOLVE event and decided to attend.

The rest, as they say, is history. After attending the event, Smooch Labs chose Rackspace and ObjectRocket largely on the strength of the presentations the company heard that day.

“We went to SOLVE and listened to a presentation by the people at Object Rocket,” said Welfel, co-founder of Smooch Labs. “From that point, we knew we had found the right experts, and we were confident that the MongoDB open source database was going to let us scale for smart growth. This was the right service and these are the right people.”

“DURING OUR INITIAL MIGRATION, SOME OF OUR FIRST HOURS ON OBJECTROCKET, WE COULD NOT BELIEVE HOW FAST IT WAS. WE REALLY STEPPED IT UP WITH OBJECT ROCKET.” CJ MCGREGOR :: Lead Backend Developer, Smooch Labs

MAKING THE MOVE TO OBJECTROCKET

While at SOLVE, Welfel said that the Object Rocket team were willing to provide direct feedback in an unsolicited consultation. “They helped us without having an account already set up,” he said. “In fact, they were digging into our schema and actually telling us why we were seeing slowness from our existing infrastructure.” In its previous setup Smooch Labs would sometimes experience system-wide slowdowns during peak usage periods.

“You literally could not use the app, and obviously we realized if we didn’t move fast we were going to be crippled and potentially lose our users,” said C.J. McGregor, Lead Backend Developer at Smooch Labs.

The decision to migrate to Object Rocket came easy fSmooch Labs, and the migration process was a smooth one, according to McGregor.

“Our previous service provider was Mongo-based, but we couldn’t get a Mongo dump of our data,” he said. “I was able to create a local Mongo instance as a workaround, and from there Rackspace helped us figure out the sharding and the indexes. This back and forth saved weeks, maybe months, that it would have taken otherwise.”

“WE ESSENTIALLY LET OBJECTROCKET HAVE THE HEADACHE OF SCALING AND WE CAN FOCUS ON INNOVATION AND FEATURES.” BRYAN WELFEL :: Co-founder, Smooch Labs

McGregor reported that any time his team had a question, the ObjectRocket experts were available and willing to troubleshoot. “The Rackspace and ObjectRocket people were always right there for us. They were always helpful with what was, and what wasn’t, going to work for our use case.”

“Businesses that succeed are going to be those that pivot and can deliver quickly,” said Welfel. “We essentially let ObjectRocket have the headache of scaling and we can focus on innovation and features.”

A DIFFERENT DYNAMIC

From the day it switched to ObjectRocket the entire Smooch Labs “dynamic has changed,” according to Welfel.

“We went from stagnant support to agile development,” said Welfel. “That is going to let us continue to grow incredibly well.”

ObjectRocket not only has helped Smooch Labs improve performance, it has saved the company money and time in addition to one other key area. “We saw a great increase in morale here, along with a dramatic drop in customer service inquiries,” said Welfel. “Ever since we met with the team at Rackspace Solve, we’ve seen a huge uptick in users, and I think that’s honestly a result of uptime and response time.”

Now that Smooch Labs is on the ObjectRocket platform, everything’s faster. “We went from focusing solely on maintaining the old infrastructure to focusing on functionality and improved user experience,” said McGregor.

With JSwipe under the Spark banner and Smooch Labs supported by ObjectRocket, a smooth transition is giving way to a very exciting upcoming path for the company and its people.

“We went from being a company that was focused on infrastructure and maintenance and support, to a company that’s focused on innovation,” Welfel said. “What is great about the whole team at Rackspace is they understand the people factor, and I think that their keeping an eye on things for us leads us to innovate and think bigger, which is exactly what we need to do.”

Data Migration

ObjectRocket helped Smooch Labs get set up with a custom code migration — specifically, an Extract, Transform and Load (ETL)-type process. With ETL, you extract the data from the source, transform the data for the new database format/structure, and then load it into the target.

The ObjectRocket team handled the sharding and indexing for them — while making sure they were optimizing their application for Mongo.

“We really appreciate how amazing the ObjectRocket team was at quickly migrating us when Parse could no longer satisfy the demands of our application,” explained Bryan Welfel, Co-Founder, Smooch Labs. “Timing was of the essence and their team did an absolutely amazing job.”

A smooth migration was just the beginning. Since then, the ObjectRocket team has helped SmoochLabs continue to improve speed and performance and, as a result, they’ve boosted innovation.

“We went from being a company that was focused on infrastructure, maintenance and support, to a company that’s focused on innovation,” Welfel said. “What is great about the whole [ObjectRocket team] is they understand the people factor, and I think that their keeping an eye on things for us leads us to innovate and think bigger, which is exactly what we need to do.”

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