UnitySCM empowers its engineering teams to own their databases with Metis

This is the story of UnitySCM journey toward establishing e2e service ownership of its engineering team

In production incidents
In database performance
San Jose, USA
Data Fabric
Tech Stack
Data Fabric
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Based out of San Jose, CA, UnitySCM is a fast-growing startup. The company developed a data platform aimed to consolidate and optimize supply chain operations, designed to easily and scalably connect and remix disparate data sources and build the supply chain data fabric for organizations.

“We don’t have a dedicated database admin or anything like that on the team. The reason for that is because we must move very fast and our development velocity and agility don't allow us to have any sort of bottleneck, especially when we are scaling so fast” said Barack Cohen the company co-founder and CTO. 

The need for a proactive approach to databases

UnitySCM’s architecture is based on a mix of multi-tenancy and separate environments depending on the customer tier. 

“When we started, we were mainly doing naive monitoring and manual checks. Basically, we were just making sure our databases worked”.

“As the customer base grew and UnitySCM started to take on bigger customers, it was apparent that this approach was not working anymore. Each customer had a different use pattern with their data and the amount of troubleshooting we had to do was just too much and just took too long.”

“We wanted our production to be more robust and resilient to the scale we were experiencing”, said Barak. “We wanted the ability to give our customers the confidence that their data will always be accessible with the best SLA ”

At the same time, UnitySCM was also looking to increase the confidence with the database-related deployments. The fear of faulty deployments, database outages, and rollbacks was one of the reasons the UnitySCM team was looking for better database guardrails within their CICD. 

“Using Metis allows us to move much faster with confidence when it comes to our deployments”

Metis: Database guardrails for high-performing teams

Right from the beginning, the UnitySCM saw immediate benefits in 4 important ways:

Distribute ownership through collaboration

Immediately after onboarding Metis to their workflow and observability stack, the team at UnitySCM could empower the engineering team to take on more responsibility when it comes to their databases.

“As a company, when it came to the databases, it wasn't always clear who was responsible. DevOps was responsible for the metrics, but engineering was troubleshooting when things went sideways” said Barack.

Once the team adopted Metis, suddenly there was no reason for not owning the databases by the engineering team.

“With Metis, adding the database to our ownership made sense. We didn't have to look at metrics and try to make sense out of it. We can just get alerts on what is wrong and why, and how to fix it immediately”.

85% MTTR reduction

Another significant advantage of adding Metis is the amount of time saved when troubleshooting database-related incidents. According to Barak, the team now spends up to 85% less time on database incidents.  

“Reducing MTTR with regard to our database incidents was a top priority for us when trying to move upmarket and support bigger scale”. Metis continuously analyzes the queries, tables, and indexes and can pinpoint the problem and necessary remediation. Now the team just looks at the alert Metis provides and can publish a fix to the database immediately. 

CICD prevention with Metis

The Metis CICD capabilities enable teams to automatically enrich each database-related activity within their CICD with production database workloads and statistics, get schema analysis, and see projections on how their queries and migration will perform in production.

“One thing that every company suffers is that when it comes to the database, everything works in staging but when deployed, then the real mess comes”. Per Barack, the ability to add a gate and see how queries or schema migration will affect production was crucial to move fast with confidence.

“Using Metis, we are now more confident that our production won't break on each deployment. We see Metis as the missing piece in our CICD. We were able to reduce the number of incidents by up to 70%”.

Fleet management

Once Metis was in place, UnitySCM now could go granular with its database observability.

“Before Metis, we had only HOST level metrics, we couldn't see what was going on across our hundreds of databases within our hosts” According to Barack, before Metis the team couldn't pinpoint why and where the problems are coming from.”

“The great thing with Metis is I don't even have to look and find the root cause and which database is the problem. Now I can just get an alert with the fix ”

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