Case Study: Valassis Relationship Marketing Systems

VRMS Turns to AQtime to Improve Product Speed.

About Valassis Relationship Marketing Systems

Valassis Relationship Marketing Systems (VRMS) is the premier developer of customer database products for high-transaction-volume retailers, including grocery, drug, convenience, mass, telecom, and clubs. Their CRM solutions MarketEXPERT XR and TargetEXPERT XR are installed at major national retailers in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Europe. During the development of their latest TargetEXPERT product, VRMS turned to AQtime to improve its speed.

Problem

VRMS determined that withing a couple of years the original single threaded implementation of their TargetEXPERT product would no longer be able to handle their existing customer's loyalty transactions growth. To get ahead of this problem VRMS started work on a new multi-threaded version of TargetEXPERT. "The initial results were disappointing" says Andy Klapper, from VRMS. "While we were in the early phases of development it was determined that the new version was actually slower than the old version. We needed to figure out why and in a hurry. This is when we turned to AQtime."

The new version of TargetEXPERT only supported a sustained rate of 6 transactions per second (TPS). "The first thing AQtime pointed out was that the socket library we were using was highly inefficient. By replacing that code with a custom socket library we were able to increase the rate to 48 TPS. Over the course of a month we were able to increase the performance to 125 TPS using AQtime. Also, using AQtime with some prototyping code we determined that the database layer could be rewritten to double the performance to 290 TPS. Later, we discovered that we could get to 350 TPS by changing which compiler we used."

AQtime Beats TargetEXPERT's Transaction Time Goals By Three Times

"The original project goal was to achieve between 50 and 100 TPS. AQtime made it so easy to identify performance problems and to focus our energy on those problems that we were able to exceed our performance requirements by a factor of three."

Customer Response to Higher Performance

"Just this past year our largest customer, one of the top five retailers in the world, sent a glowing letter praising the performance and reliability of TargetEXPERT during their busiest time of the year. This certainly wouldn’t have been as easy to do without AQtime."

"What we really like is the ability to select a couple of key methods for performance analysis, and then see what percentage of time is being spent on each method. AQtime is an amazingly powerful tool that helps us find the right areas of our code to look at."

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