Online shopping innovator Gilt.com has something for everyone, including the technologist. A leader in experiential e-commerce, Gilt.com has built up behind the scenes an impressive backend infrastructure. Core to this is PostgreSQL. Mike Bryzek, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, shared with us here at EnterpriseDB his experiences selecting and working with PostgreSQL to support the site’s shopping community of eight million plus and growing.
Q. Why did you choose to work with Postgres?
Before launching Gilt, Phong Nguyen, one of our co-founders, and I had spent over a decade building dynamic web applications using the Oracle database as a backend. When we began building Gilt, we wanted to minimize the number of new, not-critical-for-launch things we needed to learn. So our initial bias was to just use Oracle.
However, we had a problem. I really wanted to develop software on Linux, using a nice 17″ screen. Mac had recently released OS X, and we were convinced that we should give the Mac a try. And we loved the Mac.
In the first few days of Gilt, we got Oracle to work with Rails! We had a virtual machine running Linux with Oracle, and then used binary ODBC drivers with Rosetta emulation. It worked, but what a pain! I think that if, at the time, there had been a native way to run Oracle on Mac, we might have stayed the course.
We then looked at MySQL, but a few conventions and differences caught us by surprise—including some errors that arose from installing it onto the Mac.
We knew about PostgreSQL from some of our earlier work. Also, a few of our friends—namely Ben Adida, who is now director of engineering at Square, and Yonatan Feldman, Gilt’s vice president of mobile and global engineering—were both big advocates from the 7.x days of PostgreSQL. We loved the design and architecture of PostgreSQL. For anybody who really understands how the Oracle database works, PostgreSQL is a very easy transition. Plus, it was incredibly simple to install on both the Mac and Linux. (more…)Tweet