We were building a real-time bidding exchange for digital out-of-home ads by providing the analytics and the infrastructure for the ecosystem. We not only facilitate the buys, but we also act as an ad server for the network and advertisers who put in their server requirements. It is very similar to the large online ad servers. In order to provide this real-time service, we had to be able to monitor and analyze a wide range of data points for the many media companies in their ad exchange.
We wanted to find an “out-of-the-box” metrics solution that would integrate easily with current systems. We found that Datadog included the integrations that we needed to get our monitoring solution up quickly. Additionally, we liked Datadog’s ability to perform customized metric monitoring, log critical events, and scale easily. I had scaled up open-source monitoring solutions once before, and it wasn’t fun. So when I had the opportunity to do it again, I said ‘No.’
On a daily basis, Datadog eliminates a lot of the back and forth with the media owners to find out what is going on, it is just a good visual tool for seeing the activity from each of the content management systems that we work with. It is an easy way to go in and get a feel of what is going on. Without Datadog, we would have to repeatedly spend time to reach out to each media owner directly to see if they are sending any requests that day.
As we moved toward a real-time system, it was important to understand whether our partner networks had reported all of their ads in a short period of time. We now use Datadog as a daily monitoring tool to get a feel for what networks are actively sending requests to their servers, what live campaigns are running smoothly and whether the right networks are requesting ads. I always have Datadog up on a daily basis to debug issues with integrations or just to make sure that live campaigns are running smoothly.
Each network that we work with has different requirements. In terms of connectivity of their networks, we are always dealing with different frequencies and rates of requests each day. The wide diversity in partners has made customization key since the monitoring needs for each partner varies drastically. There are days where we see weird trends of requests coming in. We are able to use Datadog’s custom graphs to catch the anomalies or concern areas in their system on a real-time basis.
Going forward, we are looking to create separate dashboards for each ad network that we work with. This will enable us to gain more detailed metrics for each individual media owner. We will be able to take these detailed metrics and use them to quickly identify potential problem areas, improving our ability to solve problems as soon as they are detected.