Babblr had a problem.
Its chat service, which allowed Tumblr users to turn the microblogging platform into a bona fide social network by adding instant messaging features to users’ dashboards, was too popular. Some 30,000 people signed up for the service at roughly the same time. Its cloud storage couldn’t handle the pressure, and the service crashed.
That’s where Realtime came in.
The company was testing its Cloud Storage product, a scalable back-end as a service for mobile and Web applications through which customers are able to sync their application’s data to Amazon’s DynamoDB service. Cloud Storage then makes it easier to send and receive updates to that data, allowing developers to build collaborative tools, multiplayer games, or, fittingly, chat services.
Babblr switched over to Cloud Storage before the service’s re-launch in June. The new implementation was able to support some 41,000 users signing up for the service just a few hours after its launch, and Babblr co-founder Brandon Sowers said that the service had been stress-tested and was theoretically capable of withstanding a rush of a few million Tumblr users without a hitch.
Realtime is now releasing Cloud Storage to the public. Any developer can now sign up for the service, use a certain amount of free capacity to stress-test it, and then build it into their Web, iOS, Android, or Windows Phone applications. It’s available starting at $2 per month, and is said to be broadcasting around 1,200,000 messages per second and supporting roughly 500,000 concurrent users at time of writing. (The stats are available and live-updated on Realtime’s homepage.)
Real-time (as opposed to Realtime) notifications are the main difference between Cloud Storage and a direct subscription to DynamoDB, says Joao Parreira, the vice president of Realtime Framework. ”You can go to Amazon. You can subscribe to DynamoDB and use it as we are using it,” he says. “But if you do that, then you are not getting the real-time notifications.”
Babblr isn’t the only service to rely on Cloud Storage. Parreira says that five “very huge” Web portals and applications are using the service, though he declined to name any other companies. (Which seems like the startup equivalent to saying that four out of five dentists prefer a certain brand of toothpaste without naming the dentists, but c’est la public relations.)
“Even though this is a launch, this is a production-ready and production-stressed product and service. It’s not just some cool thing that a startup has made and announced without testing it in the real world,” Parreira says. “It’s already out there, it’s being used in very large environments, and it’s delivering. Now we are just extending this service to every developer and every company.”
[Illustration by Hallie Bateman for PandoDaily]