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Case Study

Onfleet Builds Delivery Logistics Business by Identifying mLab as Its Most Efficient Route to Market

Onfleet, a startup providing infrastructure software for last mile delivery companies, needed to get up and running quickly. Its strategy relied on external providers that could handle all infrastructure management needs and allow the startup to offer SLAs guaranteeing greater resilience than the company could manage alone. mLab’s cloud Database-as-a-Service helped it achieve these goals.

Highlights
  • Onfleet maintains 99.99%+ uptime, enabling the logistics software provider to offer enticing SLAs to its customers.
  • Onfleet's engineering philosophy is rooted in leveraging specialized service providers for critical parts of their infrastructure technology.
  • mLab’s complete DBaaS solution provides Onfleet with a solution that they "couldn't live without".
Customer Profile

Onfleet provides infrastructure software for last mile delivery companies. Focusing solely on the delivery of goods, Onfleet offers a solution for everything a company needs in order to operate an efficient fleet in a high-velocity last mile setting, including real-time management of workflow and drivers, analytics, and optimization tools. The San Francisco-based company’s cost-effective platform solution allows any customer to use its product out-of-the-box, and compete effectively with delivery services active in the local area.

The Challenge

Onfleet required a fully managed MongoDB Database-as-a-Service solution that could provide high performance databases and reliable expertise to its small team

In 2014, Onfleet’s founders turned to expert technology service providers to rapidly build a product prototype – and what would go on to become Onfleet’s infrastructure system for last mile delivery logistics. First seeking a provider for its primary data store, the burgeoning startup took a broad look at non-relational databases and focused on the technical prowess of all service providers vetted. While the founders themselves possessed extensive database experience, they wanted to focus resources on product development and knew from the outset that they needed a hosted and managed solution.

Onfleet's engineering philosophy was rooted in leveraging specialized service providers for critical parts of their infrastructure technology. It believed that these providers have highly capable teams in place that have acquired valuable insights that would take years to learn. For Onfleet's Redis needs, for example, it chose Redis Labs as the managed provider due to its expert reputation and knowledgeable staff.

Because of the nature of Onfleet’s platform – providing the logistics that enable companies to fulfill deliveries efficiently – database performance, availability, and reliability are absolute requirements to the product’s value and success. Just as its customers count Onfleet as mission-critical partner, the company holds its database solution providers to the same standard. Onfleet’s selection process had little room for error.

Solution

Following a successful trial, Onfleet selected mLab for its expert support and absolute reliability.

Onfleet believed that mLab could enable the company to guarantee a high level of uptime and performance to its customers, while also offering the growing startup timely support whenever needed. Onfleet began by using mLab’s free Sandbox plan, vetting the provider before graduating to production-ready plans as its needs grew. Onfleet quickly recognized that it had found its DBaaS provider for the long haul.

Onfleet uses MongoDB as its general-purpose database to store customer information, delivery recipients, driver information, delivery tasks, destinations, webhooks and more. With mLab in place as a service provider, Onfleet’s technical staff is afforded more time to concentrate on improving features of the customer-facing product, from seamless delivery management, to analytics that yield actionable insights, to streamlining operations.

Onfleet also takes advantage of mLab's tools to ensure its 99.99%+ uptime. Among these are mLab’s Telemetry monitoring tool, which Onfleet uses to keep a constant eye on database performance metrics. Onfleet even holds regularly scheduled weekly meetings to review mLab's weekly performance reports, which highlight missing indexes and offer index creation suggestions.

A big differentiator with mLab is its support; it’s absolutely incredible. It’s fast, it’s to the point, and it’s highly technical. As far as the magic sauce mLab provides, rolling node upgrades are great. The backups are great. The infrastructural systems and expertise that mLab provides as part of the product, including failover, is tremendously helpful. With mLab, there’s this sort of additional SLA that we couldn’t possibly achieve for ourselves, given resource constraints. This is how we believe one should be building a company, piecing together services from experts. From mLab’s support, to upgrades, to infrastructure, what they provide is something we really couldn’t live without.

Mikel Carmenes Cavia Co-Founder and VP of Engineering, Onfleet

Benefits

Aided by mLab’s database management and expert support, Onfleet’s small team has achieved rapid business growth while meeting its customers’ uptime and performance needs.

Powered by mLab’s highly available and high performance DBaaS, Onfleet now sees double-digit customer growth every month. And the company is now active in over 50+ countries around the world, responsible for many hundreds of thousands of successful deliveries each month.

When it comes to the price, Onfleet has found that mLab’s service is a great deal, especially so given that the internal team rarely has to think about the database. Onfleet reports that mLab does a proactive job of recommending any changes that would make the database run more smoothly or effectively. Beyond that convenience, peace of mind, and value, Onfleet feels that mLab functions as an addition to the team (and one that’s readily available whenever needed). All this has helped Onfleet to be confident in the SLA it offers its own customers, many of which are many time zones away and trust Onfleet with an immense volume of deliveries.

Onfleet is proud to direct those interested to its status page, which showcases the fact that the company often goes months at a time with 100% uptime (as well as quick average response times). Onfleet acknowledges that this is in large part due to the quality of the expert service providers, like mLab, that it has selected to engage with.

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