Monthly Archives: January 2011

Strengthening Our Infrastructure

Ensuring that we can meet our clients needs when they need to use the service is as critical to our business as it is to yours. For us this not only includes the businesses that use our service directly but also the cardholders who want to check their balances. To ensure we can meet these requirements we designed to run on a cloud system consisting of clusters of servers. These balance loads and ensure that any heavy activity is spread evenly so that, even if one server should crash the others keep running and the site is available.

However there are additional ways to ensure we can maximise the efficiency of our service and over recent weeks we have been upgrading and refining the back end in preparation for some new service launches and the interest we have received from businesses…

Email Outsourcing
The service conducts a number of transactions with cardholders. For instance they can create and verify their account or have their login details sent to them. This communication takes place over text messages and emails. Our text messages were outsourced from the launch of the service but we have been managing the email ourselves. While this has been working fine, what we have been able to do has been basic. We’re all familiar with the simple fact of being able to send an email but rarely give any thought to the activity that takes place behind the scenes – and it’s quite a lot. Minimising the chances of getting put into the Spam folder, monitoring the route taken, filtering out bad emails all take a lot of activity. And this all takes away from the core focus of our business. So for the same reason that our own clients focus on their business and don’t develop or manage their own loyalty systems I have now outsourced the transactional email to a company called Postmark. 

Not only will this free up time and guarantee the best delivery but it also means we can take advantage of extra features they include. The initial usage now allows us to classify emails not only as verified or unverified but also to identify those which simply don’t exist. So now you will also see emails marked as “invalid” where appropriate.

Database Configuration
As you would expect the service uses a lot of database resources. Over Christmas we re-organised this element to make it more robust as well. This involved splitting sections and redesigning a number of tables. Of course we had to make code changes to work with this but the result is that we now have a database design that will more effectively scale to new features.

The changes we have made will make the service more robust for everyone. They also allow us to concentrate on new features and functions and the first major new function will be released in the next 2-3 weeks.  After that we have are finalising the roadmap of development for the rest of the year so if you have any function you want to see implemented let me know.