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Judopay Empowers Developers to Focus on Business Value, not Infrastructure, with Akka Serverless

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The Need

In its mission to rethink the payments industry and provide friction-free payment services tailored to each client’s individual needs, Judopay has transitioned from a monolithic technology stack to a reactive microservices architecture, using Akka Platform from Lightbend to build efficient, scalable, self-healing applications.

As part of this successful technology refresh, the company has built a next-generation, multi-region infrastructure backbone for storage and real-time data streaming. This infrastructure is custom-built to deliver the extremely high availability requirements of Judopay’s core payment services, which must be ready to handle huge volumes of transactions elastically, 24/7.

Beyond these core payment services, Judopay also invests in the development of a wide range of supplementary services, which it views as a key component of its innovation strategy. However, the need to set up and maintain complex infrastructure for these services can be a cost and time sink, and a distraction for developers and operations teams.

The Challenge

Judopay’s developers have fallen in love with the simplicity, scalability and power of building applications using the Akka Platform, and customers are delighted with the pace of product innovation and delivery across the company’s payment solutions. Yet balancing the allocation of engineering bandwidth between Judopay’s core payment services and its supplementary services has always been a challenge.

“Outside of our core customer-facing payment services, it’s always harder to justify investment, particularly if you know a project is going to require months of engineering effort just to set up the infrastructure,” says Rob Howes, CTO at Judopay. “Nevertheless, there’s huge potential for us to innovate across a myriad of complementary use cases such as risk management, reconciliations, and onboarding. The question was, how could we increase speed-to-market and reduce development costs to make a stronger business case for these projects?”

The Solution

When Lightbend invited Judopay to participate in a private beta for Akka Serverless, Rob Howes quickly realized the potential of the new Lightbend product to solve this infrastructure challenge.

“We’ve used traditional serverless platforms in the past, but they weren’t really suited to building our type of services,” he explains. “The difference with Akka Serverless is that it’s stateful, so we can write our code using the same paradigm that we’re already using with Akka Platform. And when we’re ready to deploy, we don’t have to worry about the underlying infrastructure—we just push it to Akka Serverless, which takes care of the rest.”

While Judopay’s initial objective for participating in the private beta was simply to learn more about Akka Serverless, the team soon decided to evaluate the product for a real-world Judopay use case. During the beta, they built a prototype sandbox payments application to validate the technology stack and demonstrate its value to other Judopay engineering teams.

“We were surprised at how polished Akka Serverless was, even at the start of the private beta,” says Rob Howes. “The level of service that Lightbend provided for a beta also went well beyond our expectations. We had one-on-ones with the product team to help us maintain momentum, and we were delighted with how quickly they could implement new features based on our feedback.”

The Results

Judopay has been so impressed, it is already consdering adopting Akka Serverless when it reaches general availlability.

“Setting up a production-grade, multi-region Cassandra cluster from scratch takes substantial engineering effort, and the ongoing costs of monitoring and maintaining it are significant.” says Rob Howes. “By cutting out these infrastructure concerns, Akka Serverless could enable the delivery of new services in weeks, allowing us to create incremental value rapidly without the associated burden on our operations teams.”

Judopay also sees Akka Serverless as an opportunity to innovate at speed, because it will provide access to advanced Akka Platform features without needing to first put specialized infrastructure in place.

Rob Howes concludes: “Akka Serverless is set to be a game-changer, helping to drive greater business agility and empowering technology teams to adopt a wider innovation lens.”

Founded in 2012 by two seasoned payments entrepreneurs, Judopay’s mission is to create the best all-round payment experience online, on mobile and in-app. Offering frictionless and fully customizable checkout journeys, backed by worldclass anti-fraud security, analytics, and support, Judopay helps retailers drive conversions and increase revenue.


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