How Aerospike Built A Business To Serve The Data-Obsessed Ad Tech Category

As the ad tech industry matures, vendor types historically focused on other markets are expanding to meet its needs.

Media and advertising, for example, is now Snowflake’s biggest business vertical, and payment solutions provider FastPay is helping publishers and ad tech companies manage reconciliation and accounting gaps between when ad campaigns are served and advertisers are paid in full.

But there’s another vendor working behind the scenes to service the ad tech market you might not have heard: real-time data processing and management company Aerospike.

Hitching my star

Aerospike works with server-based or cloud-based businesses, and the company’s main selling point is its ability to store persistent memory in Flash files, meaning that kagillions of cookies and other RTB data points, for instance, can be minimized and ingested without losing data continuity.

Aerospike’s first client in 2010 was AppNexus, followed by a string of other players in the space, including The Trade Desk, Integral Ad Science and Beeswax.

Aerospike’s native stomping ground – the ecosystem of independent ad tech startups – has dwindled as those indies either went public or were acquired by huge conglomerates. But that doesn’t mean there’s been a contraction in the overall size of the market opportunity.

“Even when there’s consolidation and maturation, it means expansion,” said Srini Srinivasan, Aerospike’s co-founder and product chief.

Integral Ad Science, for example, now a public company with a $3.5 billion market cap, has continued to work with Aerospike, and so has The Trade Desk, which now has a market cap of nearly $50 billion. TTD has been an Aerospike client for the past decade.

The startup Beeswax brought Aerospike with it to FreeWheel after the Comcast-owned ad tech business acquired Beeswax last year.

How it works

Aerospike compresses data to a Flash file that functions as a key of sorts to connect the advertising IDs or bidstream data that’s being collected, said Ram Rengaswamy, co-founder and CTO of Beeswax, and now FreeWheel’s SVP of engineering.

Other cloud platforms provide a similar service, but most fail when it comes to handing the scale of programmatic, Rengaswamy said. If a technology can’t operate at the scale and Niagara Falls-esque constant volume of online advertising, it’s going to reduce the quality of service, let alone raise cloud infrastructure costs.

Take inventory filtering. DSPs purposely limit the overall number and kinds of bids they get from SSPs and exchanges. They do this because even if a DSP doesn’t want an impression, evaluating and logging data takes up bandwidth. Some companies ration the impressions they receive from SSPs as a cost-cutting tactic.

One of The Trade Desk’s strategic advantages compared to other DSPs was that it leapfrogged these filtering deals and was therefore able to see much more inventory across SSPs.

There are valid reasons to have filtering logic in place, Rengaswamy said. Some SSPs sell the same impression or the traffic they offer might just be low quality.

But if an ad tech company’s data intake is bound only by its inability to handle scale, rather than a desire to cut costs, there could be a big advantage in collecting more ad IDs and bidstream data with the right technology in place.

IAS and Aerospike, which first started working together in 2018, are proof positive of the opportunity. IAS initially ran its own data servers, but in 2020 transitioned to a cloud-based operation. Aerospike has also embraced the cloud. Although it started out primarily as a server database vendor, Aerospike’s business has since become far more focused on cloud data services.

“Each web transaction has a cost in terms of the compute power to encrypt and process it, network costs to transfer it and storage costs,” Danny Rathjens, senior director of technical operations engineering at IAS, told AdExchanger in an email. “As our business has grown, we’ve adopted solutions, including a suite of AWS services and Aerospike, that maximize our data storage, processing speeds and many other functions.”

Evolution

Today, Aerospike has started to move beyond just media and advertising clientele.

Visa is a customer, as are some large retailers and telcos, Srinivasan said. These are the kinds of companies that see a constant stream of millions of data points per day – if not per hour – that must be processed in real time and connected to accounts.

But there’s still considerable growth in the ad tech market, Srinivasan  said. One emerging trend, for instance, is for companies to run dual cloud operations on the Google Cloud Platform and Amazon’s AWS.

That’s a common cloud duo for businesses that tie into marketing organizations or integrate with mar tech, because each of those platforms has specific applications within Google and Amazon, he said. And the same goes for other big ad platforms in connected TV.

“These ad tech businesses are still rapidly evolving,” Srinivasan said. “Evolving is good for us.”

Enjoying this content?

Sign up to be an AdExchanger Member today and get unlimited access to articles like this, plus proprietary data and research, conference discounts, on-demand access to event content, and more!

Join Today!

 

Add a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>