Business Challenge

POF helps four million daily users find love online—but as the company outgrew its aging storage, resulting in delays in the user experience, it faced the risk of losing users to the competition.

Transformation

The company implemented all-flash arrays from the IBM® FlashSystem® family, enabling it to push information to its customers at high speeds so that they could connect and interact almost in real time.

Results

<2 months

to start seeing a return on investment

>60,000 batch requests

processed per second, eliminating IT worries to focus on growth

1/4 the cost

of competing solutions offering weaker performance, according to estimates

Business Challenge Story

Helping people find love

Every single day, over four million people use POF to help them find someone special—and time is always of the essence. Given the competitive nature of the market for app-based dating services, having a fast, high-performing interface helps POF provide clients with a differentiated experience.

Communication is at the heart of the site’s success. More than 2.5 million conversations take place on POF every day—more than on any other dating app. The formative stages of a relationship can be crucial to a potential romance, so it is imperative that things go smoothly. 

But as POF’s customer base rapidly grew, its antiquated spinning disk storage was increasingly unable to keep pace. The storage had difficulty replicating data between database instances, and its database servers struggled to respond to calls—with the result that users endured slow-loading pages that featured out-of-date, ‘stale’ data.

Owen Morley, Director of Infrastructure at POF, notes: “Speed directly drives the user experience—and if any element of the experience falters, users will look elsewhere. What’s more, with new dating apps seemingly emerging every day, the competition for attention has never been fiercer. We knew we needed faster storage to keep up.”

Speed directly drives the user experience—and if any element of the experience falters, users will look elsewhere...We knew we needed faster storage to keep up.

—Owen Morley, Director of Infrastructure, Plenty of Fish

Transformation Story

Accelerating the user experience

POF opted for all-flash arrays from the IBM FlashSystem family. Characterized by its high speed, FlashSystem enables POF to accelerate the delivery of fresh information to its four million daily users so that they can connect and interact almost in real time.

But POF isn’t resting on its laurels. “We constantly test other vendors and other storage, and we’re always looking for alternatives—but we’re consistently unsuccessful in finding anything that beats the IBM solution,” Owen Morley admits. “I don’t care about capacity, or bells and whistles. The speed with which we can complete operations drives our performance and the experiences we provide our users, so we’re always looking to go faster.”

Results Story

Moving ahead at full steam

With the IBM solution in place, POF benefits from the ultra-low latency of flash storage for batch requests. In fact, its main database server can now handle more than 60,000 per second. This means that pages load almost instantly, providing a seamless experience for POF users looking for love.

In addition, the decision to leverage flash storage makes financial sense, with POF beginning to realize a return on their investment within just two months of implementation. Owen Morley estimates that the company would incur a 4x increase in cost with the next best technology, while suffering from lower performance.

Now, POF is more focused than ever on helping its users find their perfect partner.

“Before, our focus wasn’t on moving forward—it was about keeping the site up,” Owen Morley concludes. “Now, storage is the last thing we have to worry about, so we can look at improving the system in other ways and building new features.” 

When it comes to matters of the heart, time can indeed stand still. But POF is moving ahead at full speed.

We constantly test other vendors and other storage, and we’re always looking for alternatives—but we’re consistently unsuccessful in finding anything that beats the IBM solution.

—Owen Morley, Director of Infrastructure, Plenty of Fish

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About Plenty of Fish

Plenty of Fish (POF), a Match Group (MTCH) company, is one of the largest global online dating companies, with 150 million registered users and 65,000 new daily users. Available in 11 languages and more than 20 countries, POF has more conversations than any other dating app, with 2.5 million happening every day. Unlike any dating offering today, singles have more quality conversations on POF, which can lead to stronger connections, smarter matches and better dates. For more information, please visit: iac.com/brand/match-group.

Solution Components

  • Storage: IBM FlashSystem 900
  • Storage: IBM FlashSystem V9000

Take the Next Step

To learn more about IBM FlashSystem storage, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/storage/flash

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