What companies and start-ups depend on Elixir in production?

01.08.2018

In the run up to Code Elixir LDN (16 Aug) we celebrate companies and start-ups that use Elixir in production now.

The need for developers to manage high-traffic systems means that adding Elixir to their programming stack makes sense. Elixir compiles to Erlang and inherits all of its advantages, for example performance, stability, concurrency, scalability and fault-tolerance. At Code Elixir LDN there is a mix of advanced and beginner talks. The 10 talks cover subjects like GraphQL, Invariants, pattern matching, view controllers, test driven macro development, long-term Elixir code management and discovering distributed systems. There will also be breakout sessions, ‘talk to an expert’ sessions and networking opportunities throughout the day.

View the full speaker line-up and register.

Elixir has been adopted by many companies and start-ups over the past couple of years, there are many more besides those listed below.

Nested

Nested aims to become the future of house selling for people stuck in a chain, as the only estate agent that provides an advance to help buy your new home while they sell your old house.

Nested is now one of the bigger Elixir shops in London, with an Elixir-capable team approaching 16 and a core contributor on board. Alongside GraphQL, Elixir services power an internal tooling system called the "Nest" which sits at the heart of a fast-growing operation, as well as emerging toolsets aimed at informing customer decisions with data about their property. 

Financial Times

The Financial Times started using Elixir to provide the GraphQL API for their internal user and subscriptions management system. Realising their front-end had to call multiple micro-service REST APIs, in order to render certain pages, they thought GraphQL would be a perfect solution for this also.

They chose Elixir principally because the Absinthe GraphQL framework was by far the most expressive GraphQL implementation available, leveraging Elixir meta-programming to provide a rich DSL for maintaining the schema. They liked the idea of "schema as code," and knew they would be rapidly evolving the schema, so they wanted to use something that wasn't going to be painful.

The Financial Times now have another major app in Elixir (a pure REST one, with DynamoDB backend), which has also proved to be very robust. They like the small footprint and memory usage compared with Java, especially because they run most things in Docker containers under Kubernetes. The tooling for building, testing and debugging in Elixir is also excellent, and great enhancements come with every Elixir release.

Their senior software developer, Ellis Pritchard, said ‘he found developers picked up Elixir basics very rapidly, if there is an existing framework of code to work within at first, since there are patterns they can spot and replicate. Good developers love learning new things, and are adept at switching between languages and frameworks; plus the learning curve for Elixir, certainly within an existing code base, seems low.’

Their new team in Sofia, Bulgaria are taking over the platform and seem to have picked up the Elixir apps very quickly, plus they are hiring! For more details on what they have available visit here. https://stackoverflow.com/jobs/companies/financial-times

Toyota Connected

Toyota has just launched its first global car sharing platform, operated by Servco Pacific, Toyota’s distributor in Hawaii. The Hui service utilises Toyota’s proprietary global Mobility Service Platform (MSPF) and a consumer facing app.

Toyota Connected is using Elixir as part of the backend system that makes up MSPF. It provides the API for mobile and web applications, as well as doing the geo processing such as whether a vehicle is inside or outside a geofence.

To learn more about how Toyota Connected is using Elixir, watch the following videos:

By 2020, Toyota Connected plan to have most new vehicles sold in North America and Japan sending information to their cloud. Analysing traffic patterns, driver behaviour and connecting drivers with infrastructure and other information is only part of what Toyota Connected will do, as it focuses on creating new services and products to keep the car as a beloved companion.

Powell Kinney, Chief product owner at Toyota Connected, gave a keynote at Code Elixir LDN 2018. His talk was on ‘Elixir for the Long Haul.

Grandcentrix

Grandcentrix uses Elixir to build robust and scalable IoT systems. From big german brands like Miele and Viessmann to small startups like https://tonies.de they incorporate the BEAM to deliver reliable and fast systems for their customers. 

They rely heavily on the ability to keep sockets open to all devices in the field to continuosly stream data with low latency. Their systems are nowaydays mostly deployed on Kubernetes, leveraging the best features from BEAM and K8S for reliability, automatic scaling and monitoring on all major cloud vendors.

Carbon Five

Carbon Five is an active member in the Elixir community, an interest driven largely by a passionate group of developers. The team has been excited about Elixir from the start, and decided to test it out by rewriting in-house web applications using both Elixir and Phoenix. They saw quick wins with performance and the developers felt empowered to solve even tougher challenges with Elixir.

As popularity for Elixir grew and proof of performance became better known, clients sought out Carbon Five to help build new applications ranging from new social networks to enterprise scale ecommerce platforms — each presenting their own challenges that benefited from the productivity of Elixir without an implicit performance penalty that might be found in other frameworks.

More importantly, the teams’ dedication to the new language extends far beyond work projects. Anna Neyzberg, a developer at Carbon Five, co-founded ElixirBridge to build an inclusive and supportive Elixir community for underrepresented folks in tech to learn Elixir and Phoenix. Weekend workshops are organised and run by volunteers all over the country, and are free of charge to attendees in an attempt to make the workshops as accessible as possible. Anna and the rest of the team are passionate about building the community by sharing knowledge through these events, blog posts and conferences whenever possible.

Learning and developing new skills are a huge part of what makes being a developer at Carbon Five great. The team is perpetually exploring new things to see what makes sense for the company and its clients. If you are curious and dedicated to learning, Carbon Five is always on the lookout for developers: http://bit.ly/2n4UgqH

My Meds & Me

MyMeds&Me, according to their website, specialises in simplifying adverse event and product quality data capture across the product lifecycle, streamlining processes and improving downstream benefit-risk analysis. Its team of medical and technology experts created Reportum to transform the end-to-end pharmacovigilance process and drive positive change in the pharmaceutical industry.

They are currently using Elixir in production and it underpins all their mobile and public APIs. They are also using Elixir and Elm on a new front-end application, planned for release by the end of the year, which will replace their main web app.

Pivotal

Pivotal has deployed a multi-instance Elixir application to Cloud Foundry and the nodes automatically discover and connect to each other. These clustered nodes are able to send messages between processes and execute code on remote nodes. Through adoption of their platform, tools, and methodology, top companies have unleashed innovation and reduced time-to-market, spending less to maintain their existing application portfolio.

PagerDuty

PagerDuty is a digital operations management platform for businesses. They empower DevOps, IT operations, support, security, and business leaders to turn any signal into insight and real-time action across any operational use case. Starting in 2016, PagerDuty started replacing a lot of its in-house custom monitoring tools and SLA calculators with off-the-shelf software. However, one critical piece of monitoring involving detailed business logic could not be replaced with anything off-the-shelf. As a result, PagerDuty built its own highly available Elixir powered monitoring tool that used Kafka not only as a communication layer but also as a storage layer.

Cultivate

Cultivate believe the combination of Phoenix, Ecto and Elixir is the the future of web applications. While Phoenix is just as productive as Rails it has a more scalable philosophy. Out of the box, Phoenix in Umbrella applications gives Cultivate a great framework for organising the structure of their projects, ready to grow with their clients’ needs. The amazing power and resilience of OTP is also there when they need it. They are using Elixir in production on client projects, as well as on a number of side projects.

Aeternity

Aeternity needed to handle large volumes of products and information in parallel. They also wanted to design a unique state channel to enable the off-chain verification of data and smart contracts. Aeternity use Erlang/OTP in production but also have a growing Elixir team who are exploring blockchain development in Elixir.

Coin Gaming

The pioneers of the crypto gaming universe, The Coingaming Group was founded in 2014 and operates the world’s leading Bitcoin-focused iGaming brands, including Bitcasio.io and Sportsbet.io. They are all in with Elixir and are using it throughout their backend stack.

Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report, a division of Turner Sports, is the second largest sports website in the world. At peak times they deliver over 1.5 billion page views per month, serving  over 200,000 concurrent requests to their mobile app alone. Their mobile app was developed in Elixir and supported 200M+ push notifications on the first day. The 50-strong development team considered various options, including Node.js and Go, before settling upon Elixir.

Kontomatik

According to their company website, Kontomatik tools let you get the most out of financial data. They have a few Elixir and Phoenix applications in production, the largest, according to this article, is facing about 14K paying users daily.

Pinterest

Pinterest uses Elixir to route more than 30K events per-second to its in-house rule engine for preventing spam. With more than 200M monthly active users, the company also uses Elixir to power its rate limit service with sub-millisecond response times in its API endpoints.

Moz

Moz Pro, the leading SEO analytics company, scrapped MySQL database storage for a database-free architecture powered by an Elixir driven data indexing model. The result is that their new API serves the core rankings datasets 20 times faster than the previous API, with average response times consistently below 50ms, compared to 800+ ms previously

Lonely Planet

This well known travel company needed to serve millions of unique visitors each month pushing requests to sites like booking.com and HostelWorld. Part of their solution was to  adopt an Elixir microserver with an API sub-service using Elixir and the Phoenix web framework.

Aircloak

Aircloak’s website says that their insights are the first GDPR-grade anonymisation solution capable of providing high-quality analytics while maintaining strong anonymisation. Their backend, according to an Elixir Forum thread is implemented completely in Elixir, and installed on client premises. The system itself is split into two components, called Air and Cloak.

Alpha Sights

According to their website, ‘AlphaSights is a global leader in knowledge search, helping their  clients access highly relevant subject-matter expertise quickly and efficiently. According to this Medium article, under the hood, their system status dashboard ‘Walnut’ is run by Elixir processes, with a different Elixir process responsible for monitoring various sites or service.

Onfido

According to this Medium article, Onfido is betting big on Elixir, shifting their mindsets from Object-Oriented to Functional Programming. For them, leveraging the decades of engineering work that makes up BEAM VM, plus the productivity tools that Elixir provides, is a winning combination.

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