eHarmony and SharePlex: Great Chemistry

When you think “data replication,” do you think “romantic?”

I thought not. Even those of us on the SharePlex team who eat, sleep and breathe replication don’t think about buying roses when the topic comes up. But thanks to our work with the global online relationship site eHarmony, it looks as though data replication is playing a bigger role in romance every day.

Since eHarmony implemented SharePlex replication software, it has been able to keep its secondary database current within seconds of its production customer database. It may not seem like it, but those seconds count for the site’s 20-million-plus users.

Here’s why.

Why the secondary database matters

When your business depends on people searching for matches through dozens of terabytes of data, your priority is the customer experience. You don’t want anything to hamper performance and dissuade people from spending time on your site. eHarmony deals in that kind of big data, with users constantly modifying their own profiles and looking through other people’s profiles for potential matches in the production Oracle database.

At the same time, eHarmony has a team whose mission is to analyze all that data, run reports, find new ways to engage their users and help users engage with one another. To avoid bogging down the production database, eHarmony replicates to a secondary database and performs its research there.

The problem, of course, is to keep these two databases as close to identical as possible. eHarmony can’t simply wait until the middle of the night when traffic is light, because its researchers would spend the entire next day working with stale data. For a company that prides itself on maximizing the opportunity for its users to find one another, a lag of even a few hours is unacceptable.

eHarmony was using Oracle Streams, then evaluated Oracle GoldenGate and ultimately chose SharePlex for data replication and implemented it. As Navdeep Kumar, eHarmony’s director of data services and security, says, “Based on a fast replication process that never fails, SharePlex is helping us reduce the risk of potential business losses and poorly informed marketing and advertising decisions.”

Romantic? Well, maybe not so much

So, romantic or not, eHarmony still thinks it’s pretty cool that SharePlex’s data replication is keeping the profiles of more than 20 million users synchronized across databases for one third the cost of Oracle GoldenGate.

My colleague Bill Brunt wrote up the SharePlex technical details of this case study on the Tech Center blog. I don’t want to steal all his thunder, so here are a couple of links for you: