KDDI ensures success for new cloud-based platform with Couchbase Server
KDDI, as a comprehensive communications company offering both fixed-line and mobile communications services, strives to be a leading company during changing times. For individual customers, KDDI offers its mobile communications and fixed-line communications services under the brand name "au," helping to realize new seamless communications environments. And for business clients, KDDI provides all services in the ICT realm to help clients strengthen their businesses.
KDDI Corporation is a Tokyo-based, Fortune Global 500 company that provides mobile and network communications services to both businesses and individual consumers. Founded in Japan, it is now expanding worldwide.
The company believes the market for information and communications is rapidly changing due to technological innovation, increasing global competition, and the entry of diverse new players. KDDI therefore innovates to seize new growth opportunities—which is why they chose to power a new cloud-based ID-management platform with Couchbase Server.
‘Greater potential in NoSQL’
KDDI clearly identified the market opportunity: When businesses combine multiple cloud services – for example, Google for Work and Microsoft Office 360 – every user needs an ID for each service, plus an Intranet ID and other identifications. This realization led to the formation of KDDI Business ID, a service for corporate customers that manages sensitive ID data securely and efficiently. To power the new platform, KDDI recognized that it needed a scalable, flexible database.
“We knew that a relational database management system (RDBMS) wouldn’t be a good candidate,” says Takashi Yamada, manager, KDDI Cloud Service Planning Department. “We could scale up a relational database, but it would cost us a lot.” The expense would come mainly from buying new, high-cost servers that an RDBMS requires when it needs to scale, rather than using more of the available servers KDDI already had, or adding less expensive servers that a NoSQL database runs on. “We saw greater potential in NoSQL over any other solution from the beginning,” Yamada says.
NoSQL, for instance, provides a much more flexible, schema-less data model that better maps to an application’s data organization. It also simplifies the interaction between that application and the database. Altogether, this results in less code to write, debug and maintain.
Wins head-to-head on performance and ease-of-use
In August 2013, the company conducted a head-to-head comparison between Couchbase Server and another NoSQL database, MongoDB. KDDI set up five servers for each database in an Amazon Web Services (AWS) environment, and then tested their respective performances.
The results were clear and decisive. MongoDB peaked at a little over 20,000 transactions per second, while Couchbase Server hit 55,000 transactions per second and was still improving when KDDI stopped the test.
“First and foremost, it was Couchbase Server’s performance that convinced us,” says Masaru Nakajima, assistant manager, KDDI Cloud Service Development Department. “Secondly, its usability is perfect for us. Couchbase Server has an easy-to-use and full-fledged management console, so it’s easy to add servers without causing an interruption of services.”
KDDI chose Couchbase for KDDI Business ID service without hesitation. Today, when a user at a corporate customer logs into various cloud services, KDDI’s platform authenticates the account using ID data stored in Couchbase Server.
“ The most important quality of a telecommunications company … is reliability in providing services. With Couchbase, we can meet our customers’ expectations. ”
Scaling without down time
KDDI appreciates the ability with Couchbase Server to easily and quickly scale out a cluster without down time, using built-in automated rebalancing. Rebalancing redistributes or evens the distribution of data across nodes, so that the same amount of data and load are placed on every node. In addition, the clients are topology aware – when one or more nodes are added, clients automatically adjust accordingly. As a result, developers do not have to make changes to the application or its configuration.
Multiple data locations for disaster recovery
KDDI operates a private infrastructure as a service (IaaS), KDDI Cloud Platform Service, which serves as the infrastructure for Couchbase Server. To meet availability and other requirements, KDDI routinely uses key Couchbase Server features. Cross Data Center Replication (XDCR) replicates data efficiently and effectively from one cluster to another for both disaster recovery and data locality.
“We operate two datacenters for high availability,” Yamada adds. “In Japan, disaster countermeasures are a very important aspect of database services. With Couchbase Server’s XDCR, we can replicate data rapidly and smoothly between data centers to ensure availability even in times of disaster.”
KDDI also leverages Rack Awareness in Couchbase Server, which guarantees data is always available despite hardware failure by ensuring replicas are not stored on the same server, rack, or physical location. And MapReduce lets users build views, which are automatically and continuously updated as data changes.
Couchbase also helps KDDI to maintain its high performance standards with fewer servers. “We would have needed more MongoDB servers to meet our performance requirements,” Nakajima notes. “We were able to get better performance with less hardware by choosing Couchbase Server.”
Reliability and confidence
KDDI believes that the most important quality of a telecommunications company, especially in serving business customers, is service reliability. “With Couchbase Server, we can meet our customers’ expectations,” Yamada says. “We can also offer our services with great confidence, which gives us a competitive edge in the market.”
Couchbase Server also is “very easy and simple to build,” he adds. “Its Java client library has a rich set of functionality. Their support team helped us understand how to model our data as JSON documents, which simplified the implementation of the clients application.”
International and local support
KDDI launched Couchbase Server in August 2014. Couchbase supported the launch with both locally based resources and experts from the United States. “We worked very closely with Couchbase technical support,” Yamada says. “Our Couchbase sales engineer also helped us with fine-tuning the parameters, which greatly facilitated the implementation processes.”
Equally useful for other applications
KDDI Business ID now provides the authentication database services through Couchbase Server. “Every time end users log into one of the various cloud services, they are authenticated by the ID information stored in Couchbase Server,” Yamada says.
In addition to powering its Business ID service with Couchbase Server, KDDI also is using it as a general-purpose database for various other applications and services, rather than relying on multiple technical solutions. “Now, with the proven performance of Couchbase Server, we are beginning to see the potential of expanding the authentication services to mobile and network communications as well,” Yamada says.
Strong ROI in multiple areas
KDDI anticipates a strong return on investment (ROI) for the Couchbase NoSQL solution. “Couchbase Server will help us keep costs low when we expand the business—into more services and a greater number of clients — because it will scale easily,” Yamada says. “With a relational database, we would need to rebuild the system to increase the resources available, a very expensive process in both time and labor. And with Couchbase Server’s ease of operation and management, we expect to see ROI in the form of reduced maintenance cost with less time spent on administration.”