sovrn Uses MapR as Foundational Data Platform for Online Advertising Exchange

sovrn uses MapR as the data source of record and as a foundational component of its data architecture. The MapR platform provides high availability, stability and the capability for deep analytics that allow sovrn to deliver valuable insights to their clients.

The Business

sovrn operates a real-time online advertising bidding exchange with direct relationships to over 50,000 publishers and their websites. sovrn partners with independent online publishers to help them better engage their audiences and monetize their websites through programmatic advertising.

sovrn analyzes over a petabyte of data every day and uses that information to develop insights for publishers about website and traffic characteristics, audience segmentation, reader engagement levels, and monetization tactics. This helps publishers pinpoint the targeting of content to specific audience segments and drive more revenue.

The Challenge

sovrn receives over 30 billion ad requests and reaches over 650 million unique web and mobile visitors every month. This data volume continues to increase at a rapid pace as they add more publishers and partners to their network. “We are always bringing in new data feeds to enhance and expand our analytic capabilities,” explains Jonathan Sharley, Team Lead for Data Operations at sovrn. “It’s vital to have a stable, reliable system.”

MapR Solution

sovrn has been using the MapR Distribution including Hadoop for more than three years. “A core reason people adopt Hadoop is that it is flexible and can scale with the business. MapR provides even more value on top of Hadoop such as compression, support, testing of ecosystem components to be sure they are compatible, and support to help us overcome technical challenges,” says Sharley.

As sovrn has grown, MapR has grown along with it and has become the source of record for all of its log data. “MapR has been very stable for us over the past couple years,” explains Sharley. “Due to the volume and scale of our publisher network, it’s vital that processing can continue without interruption.”

“MapR’s compression has been very useful,” he says. “We get a better return on our hardware investment because we can minimize our footprint in the data center.”


sovrn is seeing multiple benefits from using MapR as the foundation for its online advertising exchange.

High Availability System Never Loses Data
MapR high availability features are critical to sovrn’s business. “MapR is our data source of record and our business relies on it,” says Sharley. “We’ve never lost any data due to the system and we’ve used features like snapshots to recover data that might otherwise have been lost.”

sovrn is also very happy with the support they’ve received from MapR when they needed it. “Having a supported system where we can contact someone to resolve issues, or be proactive to avoid issues about upgrades or maintenance is a great benefit. We can talk with the MapR support team before do a large operation on the system,” he says. “But most of the time we don’t have to tune it, it just runs.”

MapR Provides Deeper Analytics
sovrn is always looking at what kinds of analysis they can do that would be valuable to publishers to improve their businesses. “We are innovating tools that publishers can use to grow their business,” he says.

In the MapR cluster, sovrn can do deeper and broader comparative metrics across the network so they see how one publisher is doing compared to another, and pinpoint how publishers can improve their content and monetization.

MapR enables sovrn to do large set analysis to see what everyone is doing across a day, in a content category or within specific vertical markets. They can see the mix of publishers and what brands have bought ad space on those publishers’ websites. “MapR technology helps us to address the scale and analytics we need to perform on this data,” he says.

MapR Technology and Ecosystem Continues to Push Boundaries
sovrn also appreciates all of the technology components that come with the MapR ecosystem. “We take advantage of the bundled components from MapR such as Hive, Pig and Sqoop and Zookeeper,” says Sharley. “We look forward to seeing new developments from MapR.”

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