Outbrain Develops Innovative Personalized Recommendations With MapR


Outbrain is the world’s leading premium discovery platform, bringing personalized and relevant content to audiences while helping publishers understand their audiences through data. They have a monthly global audience of 557 million consumers and serve 250 billion recommendations a month. Based in New York, Outbrain operates 17 global offices and partners with publishers and marketers in more than 55 countries.


Outbrain’s business operates 24/7 and needs to be agile to meet market demands. As their business grew, Outbrain added a significant amount of data. Their previous system was unable to scale and maintain availability and performance requirements as the data volume increased. Furthermore, Outbrain needed more agility to refine its algorithms quickly to meet changing business needs.

"We needed a platform that could scale with our business and give us the ability to quickly generate more sophisticated personalized recommendations," says Orit Yaron, Vice President Cloud Platform.


Outbrain wanted to be proactive. They sought to address the problems by building an entirely new and innovative solution that would grow with them. "Outbrain needed a platform for innovation that enabled us to get out of the maintenance zone and be free to innovate," explains Yaron. "We had an old system that prevented us from leveraging new technologies and was not as reliable as we needed it to be," says Yaron.

After an extensive comparison of technologies, Outbrain chose the MapR Converged Data Platform as it resolved Outbrain’s two major pain points: resiliency and performance. "On the resiliency side, MapR recovered flawlessly without any intervention from Outbrain, which was big for us," says Yaron. "Other technologies required manual intervention to come back online."

There was also a 15% improvement in performance with MapR when compared with other technologies. Faster queries allow Outbrain to process more data resulting in a better customer experience. The solution also allowed Outbrain to take advantage of other cutting edge technologies such as Apache Spark and ORC giving the Engineers more tools to work with.

"With MapR we can use more advanced algorithms to produce more sophisticated and targeted recommendations which result in more revenue at the end Of the day."
--Orit yaron, Vice president cloud platform, outbrain

"our previous system prevented us from leveraging new technologies and was not reliable. We were stuck in maintenance mode, unable to innovate. With our mapr platform we are free to innovate."
--Orit yaron, Vice president cloud platform, outbrain

Outbrain Gains Agility and Cutting Edge Technology with MapR


Outbrain chose MapR for their new content delivery platform because it offered an agile, efficient, and innovative solution.

CONSTANT INNOVATION. Because execution time is shorter with MapR, Outbrain has become more agile to pursue new ideas. They can develop new algorithms and solutions more quickly. "More advanced algorithms produce more sophisticated and targeted recommendations, which results in more revenue at the end of the day," says Yaron. MapR also allows Outbrain to leverage ecosystem advancements like Apache Spark, Hive, Sqoop, and YARN for a greater competitive advantage. "For our engineers who are using the cluster, we can now say yes to almost any request when they want to experiment," says Yaron. "Before MapR, we had to say ‘no that technology is not supported,’ but now we can say yes to anything."

FASTER TIME TO MARKET. Outbrain captures 10TB of data per day and has 2PB of data on two production clusters. Using MapR, Outbrain gained a more efficient production and testing environment that easily handles this volume, allowing for more advanced analysis to iterate and improve its algorithms. "MapR gives us access to new technology so that we can develop more advanced personalization algorithms to make better recommendations, which improves our click-through rate and means more revenue at the end of the day," says Yaron.

HARDWARE EFFICIENCY. Using MapR software on commodity hardware, Outbrain increased their data center capacity while using significantly less hardware. "With the new hardware configuration and improved technology, we realized a dramatic reduction in the number of nodes per cluster resulting in one-third the footprint within the datacenters," explains Yaron. Jobs migrated to ORC show a 10-20% improvement for the cluster daily workload reduction of 50,000,000 CPU seconds per day.

CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY. Outbrain achieved greater resiliency of their content recommendation platform using cutting edge technology. "We were up and running quickly, taking only four months to deploy the platform. The resiliency is terrific. We are no longer in maintenance mode, there are no surprises," explains Yaron. This has had a tremendous impact on the human side of engineering. "When you’re working with cutting edge technology like MapR, you are able to be innovative," says Yaron. "That’s a big benefit for the culture from a human perspective. It impacts teamwork and effort, helping us attract and retain the best talent."

MapR provides a highly available and resilient solution that meets Outbrain’s performance and analytics needs and drives innovation within the company.

"when you’re working with cutting edge technology like mapr, you are able to be innovative. It impacts teamwork and effort, helping us attract and retain the best talent." --Orit yaron, Vice president cloud platform, outbrain