Category Archives: PayPal

eBay chief cloud engineer: ‘OpenStack needs to do more on scalability, upgradability’

eBay aims to move 100 per cent of its service onto OpenStack

eBay aims to move 100 per cent of its service onto OpenStack

OpenStack has improved leaps and bounds in the past four years but it still leaves much to be desired in terms of upgradability and manageability, according to Subbu Allamaraju, eBay’s top cloud engineer.

Allamaraju, who was speaking at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver this week, said the ecommerce giant is a big believer in open source tech when it comes to building out its own internal, dev-and-test and customer-facing services.

In 2012 when the company, which is a 100 per cent KVM and OVS shop, started looking at OpenStack, it decided to deploy on around 300 servers. Now the company has deployed nearly 12,000 hypervisors on 300,000 cores, including 15 virtual private clouds, in 10 availability zones.

“In 2012 we had virtually no automation; in 2014 we still needed to worry about configuration drift to keep the fleet of hypervisors in sync. In 2012, there was also no monitoring,” he said. “We built tools to move workloads between deployments because in the early years there was no clear upgrade path.”

eBay has about 20 per cent of its customer-facing website running on OpenStack, and as of the holiday season this past year processed all PayPal transactions on applications deployed on the platform. The company also hosts significant amounts of data – Allamaraju claims eBay runs one of the largest Hadoop clusters in the world at around 120 petabytes.

But he said the company still faces concerns about deploying at scale, and about upgrading, adding that in 2012 eBay had to build a toolset just to migrate its workloads off the Essex release because no clear upgrade path presented itself.

“In most datacentre cloud is only running in part of it, but we want to go beyond that. We’re not there yet and we’re working on that,” he said, adding that the company’s goal is to go all-in on OpenStack within the next few years. “But at meetings we’re still hearing questions like ‘does Heat scale?’… these are worrying questions from the perspective of a large operator.”

He also said the data from recent user surveys suggest manageability and in particular upgradeability, long held to be a significant barrier to OpenStack adoption, are still huge issues.

“Production deployments went up, but 89 per cent are running a core base at least 6 months old, but 55 per cent of operators are running a year-old core base, and 18 per cent are running core bases older than 12 months,” he said. “Lots of people are coming to these summits, but the data suggests many are worried about the upgrading.”

“This is an example of manageability missing in action.  How do you manage large deployments? How do you manage upgradeability?”

Mobile Payment Future Is Tied to Services

Guest Post by Nick Nayfack, Director of Payment Solutions, Mercury Payment Systems

Consumers are already using their smartphones when they shop. They just need the incentive to take the next step to making a purchase with their phone. According to Google, some 79 percent of consumers today can be considered “mobile shoppers” because they use their smartphones for browsing for product information, searching for product reviews or looking for offers and promotions. Today’s merchants see their customers browsing their store with smartphones and know that mobile marketing is no longer an option, it’s an imperative.

There is a clear opportunity to target avid smartphone users, as well as provide merchants with the ability to turn their point of sale system into a marketing engine simply by capturing their customers’ phone numbers. By creating a point of sale environment where processing becomes prospecting, mobile and alternative payments become a natural extension of the convenience and value that merchants and consumers are looking for. Not only can consumer use their phones in store to gain product information or exclusive offers, they can skip the checkout line by paying with their phone.  In this environment, mobile payments gain adoption because of the valuable service it provides to both the merchant and the consumer.

What is it that is driving merchants to adopt mobile point of sale systems (POS) – doubling their implementation in the past year – and consumer rapid adoption of smartphones – while mobile payments has yet to experience the same growth curve? The slow speed of adoption can be tied to two gaps in the current payment landscape: convenience and value. Merchants are adopting mobile POS systems because of their affordable pricing, the ease of use, and the ability to tie value-added services like loyalty programs and gift options to their customer’s checkout experience. Consumers are looking for more value for their money and more likely to sign up for opt-in marketing at the cash register or loyalty programs if they feel like they are getting something in return.

Where is the value in Mobile Payments today?

1. Information is Still Key

Consumers are using their phones now mostly to find product information, restaurant reviews, and discount offers.  90 percent of smartphone shoppers use their phone today for “pre-shopping” activities. The most common are price comparisons (53 percent), finding offers and promotions (39 percent), finding locations of other stores (36 percent) and finding hours (35 percent).  In contrast, consumer in-store purchases from a mobile device are still in the minority (~16 percent), but show promise for fast and exponential grow.  As such, if you want consumers to use your mobile payment application, there must be a tight alignment with other frequently used mobile applications (i.e. mobile search.)

2. Remember Your Basics

Key players in the mobile payments space need to make better UX by applying principles learned from the web many years ago: mobile-specific design, clear calls to action and one shopping experience across all platforms.  Beyond the UX, there needs to be clear and repeatable value to the consumer. Special offers or incentives could be paired with your current purchase history to make one-click purchases attractive from mobile devices. From a historical perspective, Amazon introduced this concept several years ago in the e-commerce world with links that provided suggestive purchases based on the buyer’s current purchase (e.g. others that bought this book, also bought the following). While m-commerce has different considerations such as limited time and high distraction of users, there can be some lessons learned from the past.

3. Find Today’s Value

POS developers will succeed today, and in the future by helping merchants to obtain and analyze information about their business and customers. This requires coordinating with an acquirer or processor that has rich historical data to help analyze transaction history, and other data. In this way, merchants can then personalize the consumer experience for new cost benefits or improve operations for cost savings.

Lastly, as mobile evolves, new data points will provide richer context (e.g. location, social context, sku data) and merchants will have even more reference points to deliver a personal consumer experience. In this way, personalization is the key value that is coupled with convenience.

Nick Nayfack

Nick Nayfack is the director of product for Mercury Payment Systems. He is responsible for developing best practices in mobile commerce with industry peers in order to help enable merchants and consumers to navigate technological “ease-of-use.” Nick is also a member of the Electronic Transaction Associations (ETA) Mobile payments committee.

Battle for Control of the Mobile Wallet: Sorting out Players,Technologies, Strategies

Research and Markets  has announced the addition of Javelin Strategy & Research’s new report “Battle For Control Of The Mobile Wallet: Sorting Out Players,Technologies and Strategies to Win” to their offering.

Mobile payments and purchasing at the physical point-of-sale have experienced little adoption in the U.S. marketplace despite abounding innovation in mobile and payments technologies. Control over the consumer’s preferred mobile wallet will be critical to the new business models that will develop in this ecosystem and the tremendous wealth that will accrue to the winners.

The battle for control of the wallet is in its initial stages, with many players just entering the field, jostling to grab early market leadership, and changing alliances and positions rapidly. A successful wallet will have to find a winning proposition for consumers, merchants, mobile network operators and financial institutions. This report will provide an update on how products have moved, where we can expect these products to be in the future, which primary technologies are being used at the POS (NFC, cloud, and bar code), and how wallets can maximize adoption.

Highly innovative but new vendors to the payments space, such as Google, the mobile network operators (the Isis partners in particular), Square, and Apple will need to position and partner differently than incumbent companies, such as Visa, MasterCard, card issuers, and alternative providers like PayPal. This report will also address consumer perception of different providers and why Visa and PayPal lead as preferred consumer wallet providers.

Primary Questions

– What is a digital wallet, and why is it important?

– What are the differences among NFC, cloud, and bar code mobile wallets, and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

– Who are the major competitors in the mobile wallets space, and how are they different?

– How are incumbent payments competitors transitioning into the mobile wallet space?

– Who are new entrants in payments , and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

– Which mobile wallets do consumers prefer?

– Which consumer segments should wallet providers target?