Customer Case Study

MoveOn.org CTO: “FlyData is a core piece of infrastructure for us.”

Communities, Non-Profit
Ann Lewis, CTO of MoveOn.org, relies on FlyData’s ETL-as-a-Service to replicate mission critical data and their 8-figure email list from MySQL to Redshift.

Every year, millions of Americans use MoveOn.org to organize for causes they support. The organization has a massive trove of data that they use to optimize campaigns and mobilize their followers.

However, by 2015, the 20-year old platform was getting bogged down by legacy infrastructure and processes. Data was stored on multiple MySQL databases and in several tech vendor systems. This was hurting their ability to run campaigns.

That’s when MoveOn.org hired Ann Lewis as CTO.

Lewis’s mission was to modernize MoveOn’s technology stack. Her first task was to migrate the company’s old MySQL databases and mission-critical computational queries to Amazon Redshift. The move had an immediate impact.

“Suddenly, a query that used to take an hour took a minute,” Lewis recalls, “Everyone was so happy. They said, ‘Do that for all of our databases!’”

# The Build vs. Buy Dilemma

Lewis faced a critical decision: Should MoveOn.org build or buy their ETL service?

As a 501(c)(3), the organization had little room in the budget. However, after observing several of MoveOn’s peers struggling with ETL maintenance, Lewis decided to buy an off-the-shelf ETL solution.

“We were going to spend months of developer time on ETL scripts,” said Lewis, “I realized I wanted to throw money at this problem — even though we didn’t have much money to spend — because it would save us so much developer time.”

# Choosing FlyData for Replication to Redshift

Lewis’s team chose FlyData for its Redshift expertise, but they were pleasantly surprised by its ease-of-use and excellent customer service.

“FlyData immediately worked. It was plug-n-play,” said Lewis, “They have been very responsive.”

Lewis’s team started by ETLing their largest MySQL database and most critical algorithm queries to Redshift. Then Lewis negotiated with MoveOn’s tech vendors to create MySQL replicas that FlyData could connect to.

For the first time, MoveOn.org had all of their data in one place.

# Scaling with FlyData

Since then, MoveOn.org has grown immensely — both in membership and database bandwidth.

The organization now has an 8-figure email list and replicates hundreds of millions of rows of data each month. Lewis counts on FlyData to keep their mission-critical systems running smoothly.

“FlyData is a core piece of infrastructure for us,” said Lewis. “It really let’s us do more with our limited resources.”

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