Return Path Chooses MapR for Enterprise Features, Technical Expertise and Responsive Support

Return Path has confidently grown its business with MapR’s enterprise features, reduced administrative costs and responsive technical support.

The Business

Return Path, an email intelligence software company based in New York, helps businesses build better relationships with their customers, improve their marketing ROI, and combat fraud. They also help ISPs and other mailbox providers enhance network performance and drive customer retention. Return Path’s email intelligence solutions analyze and evaluate the reputation of email senders to maximize the performance and accountability of email, build trust across the entire email ecosystem, and protect users from spam and other abuse so that only emails people want and expect reach the inbox.

The Challenge

Return Path has always used open source software to run key parts of its business. The company had been using the open source Apache and Cloudera distributions of Hadoop for about four years. Solutions built on Hadoop quickly became business critical and Return Path needed a Hadoop platform they could commit to and trust for years to come.

“Hadoop had clearly become a core part of our infrastructure. The limitations of the technology were becoming painfully apparent. We needed to continue to do more with the platform and were looking for help,” explains Andy Sautins, CTO of Return Path. “We needed a technical partner that would help us get the most out of our investment in Hadoop and help us take our experience to the next level. MapR has been that partner for us.”

“It was easy for us to work with the tools MapR provides like NFS, mirroring for disaster recovery and volume management. We didn’t have to rethink our technology. It just fit right in, which was a big win for us."

— Andy Sautins, Chief Technology Officer, Return Path

MapR Solution

About 18 months ago, the company started evaluating other options. They did a comparison between their existing Cloudera CDH3 solution and MapR M5. “At that time, we saw a 3x performance increase in real-world workloads with MapR,” says Sautins.

MapR also had compelling enterprise features that proved to reduce administration overhead. For example, Return Path found that higher density nodes required much less administration on MapR, allowing them to manage nodes of 20 terabytes versus 6 terabytes with their previous solution. “Having higher density nodes allows us to have less hardware to manage and enables us to more efficiently run our business,” explains Sautins.

“MapR features like NFS are critical to us because of our workflow. But if I were to pick the most important thing about MapR, it would be their partnership and support. MapR is a partner we can collaborate with as we grow.”

-Andy Sautins, Chief Technology Officer, Return Path


Return Path is benefiting from its MapR solution in multiple ways —from the enterprise-grade capabilities and reduced administrative costs to MapR’s expert technical support.

Enterprise features built for how Return Path’s business works
“MapR provides a solution that just fits with the way an enterprise organization already works,” Sautins says. “The other distributions work really well, as long as you are able to work within the confines of the way their tools work. It was easy for us to work with the tools MapR provides like NFS, mirroring for disaster recovery and volume management. We didn’t have to re-think our technology. It just fit right in, which was a big win for us.”
“With MapR, we can handle more drives per node, which translates to better data density in our cluster,” explains Shawn Nussbaum, Return Path Engineering Director. “We ran into limitations with the NameNode due to a large number of files. The MapR file system doesn’t have the same limitations and handles our situation a lot better.” Nussbaum explains. “NFS gives us the flexibility to use tools other than MapReduce to process data, and simplifies moving data on and off the cluster,” he says.

Reduced administrative costs
The MapR file system offers more flexibility and lower costs. MapR Direct Access NFS™ makes Hadoop radically easier and less expensive to use. MapR allows files to be modified, overwritten, and enables multiple concurrent reads and writes on any file. While other distributions try to provide NFS mounts, they are read-only in nature, are not highly available and suffer from poor NFS gateway performance.

Technical expertise and responsive support
Return Path feels the most important part of working with MapR is the technical expertise and responsive support they’ve received. “MapR has a great technical organization. It is clear they had a deep understanding of what they were building,” says Sautins. “The most important thing is to have a partner that understands what we do and what we need to achieve with the technology. We trust MapR to help us optimize our current environment as well as plan for the future. MapR is exactly what we were looking for in a partner,” he says.