Split’s customers demand dependable performance at scale

Split provides an industry-leading feature delivery platform used by organizations like Twilio, Salesforce, and WePay to measure their impact on customer experience in realtime.

cust-logo-split-col-neg.svg
Size:

Scaleup

Industry:

B2B Software

Use case:

Feature flag updates

THE PROBLEM
Frequent, unreliable polling and increasing infrastructure burden

Split serves up feature flags to tens of millions of client apps, sending over one trillion events per month. The company had previously relied on a simple polling architecture to propagate all feature flag changes.

But for some of Split’s customers, such as those in the banking sector, speed is absolutely critical - feature flag changes must be propagated in under a second. That requirement was testing Split’s polling architecture to its limit and creating an unacceptable delivery lag of up to five seconds. 

There were some additional inefficiencies in Split’s original polling design that were consuming resources unnecessarily. Feature flag triggers can range from just a few per day right up to more than 600, usually during local business hours. An event-based model is much more resource-efficient and cost-effective as it pushes flags on demand only when change occurs.

Pato Echagüe, CTO and co-founder explained: "I just couldn’t imagine operating our own realtime infrastructure with our current DevOps resources while also delivering on all of our other ops requirements. Split is focused on delivering the best feature flag platform. We don’t want to distract ourselves by effectively getting into the realtime infrastructure business. It’s just not cost-effective.”

1 trillion+

Events per month

300ms or less

Latency to support internal service level objectives

We spoke to engineers at companies like LinkedIn, Slack, and Box who’d already built this type of infrastructure themselves. Everyone told us it would take a significant amount of upfront engineering coupled with non-trivial operating costs.

Pato EchagüeCTO and co-founder
THE SOLUTION
Lightning speed and reliability with Ably

Split’s leadership team recognized the efficiency and cost benefits of adopting a realtime platform. 

To benchmark Ably’s performance, Split ran several testing scenarios which measured:

  • Latencies from the time in which a feature flag change was made

  • The time the push notification arrived

  • The time until the last piece of the message payload was received

In all those scenarios, the push notifications arrived within a few hundred milliseconds and the full message was consistently under a second latency.

Many critical apps rely on Split to safely rollout - or rollback - features. Split was looking for a provider with a fault tolerant infrastructure to support its rigorous commitment to reliability, including protocol fallback options. 

Pato Echagüe, CTO and co-founder explains, 

"The fact that Ably had proactively thought of using multiple CDNs just like we do at Split was fantastic. It really reassured me that Ably took things seriously and that we could depend on its platform.”

Split also needed a provider that could handle its existing scale and effortlessly support rapid future growth, since it had already experienced a tremendous growth rate from 500 million monthly events to one trillion in the space of a few months. The Ably platform is meticulously designed to be elastic and highly-available, providing the uptime and scale required, sending billions of messages each day to millions of devices.

1 trillion+

Events per month

300ms or less

Latency to support internal service level objectives

THE RESULTS
Split chose Ably to satisfy their stringent requirements

Split looked at various realtime providers that could support their scale, growth rate, and commitment to reliability. Ably’s proven dependability made sense and stood out as an opportunity for a long-term strategic partnership. 

Ably was the only realtime platform to provide the performance and dependability essential to Split while also offering a complete set of features, including existing support for SSE. 

Driven by clear customer need and the limitations of a polling-based architecture, Split chose to invest in a streaming architecture powered by Ably that has become the default for its platform, with polling as a fallback.

By making the switch to Ably, Split was able to take advantage of a simplified cloud architecture to replace the heavy infrastructure burden. The shift from a polling-based architecture to a dual polling/streaming architecture eliminated the multi-second lag of polling and replaced it with predictable latencies that fell well within their rigorous commitment to their customers. 

Since adopting Ably, Split has seen massive growth with sales doubling and its global workforce growing by over 70%. The organization continues to innovate, rolling out several industry firsts and achieving industry recognition in a 2021 Forrester report.

1 trillion+

Events per month

300ms or less

Latency to support internal service level objectives