This post is one in a series of quick-hit interviews with companies using DataStax Enterprise (DSE) for key parts of their business. In this interview, we talked with Hermes Jimenez, who is Engineer Manager at SmarterWeb.
DataStax: Hello Hermes, thanks a lot for your time today. Could you please tell us a bit about Smarter Web? What exactly do you offer and what is your role there?
Smarte Web: SmarterWeb is a company based in Guadalajara, Mexico. We are a small company 10+ people and growing. Mexico was the second country in Latin America to implement the electronic invoice. The electronic invoice wasn’t required until 2011, almost all companies in Mexico had to issue an electronic invoice for each transaction they made. By that time, the SAT (Tax Administration in Mexico) realized that this kind of infrastructure was a titanic effort to create and maintain. They created a new figure that is called: CFDI Certification Provider. SW SmarterWeb is a CFDI Certification Provider, we have the Digital Signature from the Tax Administration in order to validate and certificate electronic invoices in Mexico. Our core business is to offer services to independent software vendors so they can issue their invoices to their final customers and then report all those invoices to the Tax Administration. My role in SW SmarterWeb is Engineer Manager.
DataStax: What makes your Electronic Billing System and services successful and what differentiates you to similar companies?
SmarterWeb: I think our main advantage is that we offer great performance and and we keep it at a low cost. We are one of the few that take advantage of cloud computing, we can grow our services within minutes, and this has been the difference every time that our customers require more performance and new services. The other main difference against our competitors is that we adapt to our clients needs, offering solutions that our competitors can’t because of their infrastructure or the way their software is designed.
DataStax: Did you use a different technology before you started using DataStax Enterprise (DSE)?
SmarterWeb: Yes, We tried SQL Server and Azure Search.
DataStax: Why did you decide to use DataStax Enterprise? What kind of data is stored in DataStax Enterprise?
SmarterWeb: We store millions of electronic invoices issued in Mexico. DataStax offers a complete solution and we can take advantage to offer in a near future more applications that will add great value to our services.
DataStax: How would you sum up the benefits you’ve achieved with DataStax Enterprise?
SmarterWeb: The main benefit is the capacity that DataStax has to grow our services and storage, we just need to add extra node if our capacity starts to grow, and we’re growing every day, every time that we add new customers. For instance, last month we handled more than 1 million transactions within 8 hours and our solution kept working as usual without any issue. And the other main advantage is that it is really fast and it integrates with Apache Solr™ for searching.
DataStax: What caused you to use DSE over open source Apache Cassandra™?
SmarterWeb: The integration with Apache Solr™ and DSE in the Marketplace, it was really easy to start.
DataStax: What features from the DataStax Enterprise stack are you using at the moment? What business / customer experience outcomes have you achieved by using DataStax Enterprise?
SmarterWeb: We are using Apache Cassandra™ and DSE Search. With other solutions we were struggling with confidence in the stored data (deadlock , timeouts etc) and the performance searching for that data. With DSE we managed to solve those problems.
DataStax: Tell us about the future of your project(s), do you intend to leverage other parts of DSE to make it a reality?
SmarterWeb: We are planning to certificate all our team in order to take all the advantages that DSE offers. We want to introduce DSE Analytics to create more valuable services to our customers.
DataStax: What advice would you give to other startups that are thinking about using Apache Cassandra™ and DSE for the first time in their solutions?
SmarterWeb: Take as much time as you need designing your schema before you put anything in production. Designing our database structure meant everything for us and it was one of the most difficult parts during this migration process.
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