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Table of Contents

fauna connexin case study002@2x

How Connexin delivers world-class broadband and smart city services with Fauna and Cloudflare

Wyatt Wenzel|Oct 23rd, 2023|

Categories:

Use CaseCloudflareServerless
Case study

Fauna + Cloudflare + Connexin

Read on to learn why fast-growing technology provider Connexin chose Fauna as its transactional database to accommodate its critical application requirements and support its long-term data strategy.

➡️ About Connexin

➡️ The challenge: Accommodating disparate traffic patterns while supporting rapid business growth

➡️ The solution: API-delivered and distributed technologies

➡️ The stack: Future-proofing with Fauna and Cloudflare

➡️ Conclusion

About Connexin

Connexin, a UK-based enterprise founded in Hull, England in 2006, focuses on simplifying technology to connect the real world with the digital world. They have two main areas of business: broadband connectivity and IoT-driven smart city solutions.
  1. Broadband Connectivity: Connexin’s full-fiber broadband offering differentiates from legacy broadband providers in two key areas:
    • They prioritize extending services to hard-to-reach rural areas, using innovative fiber and wireless technologies to “solve the rural broadband challenge.”
    • They have made delivering exceptional customer service a strategic priority, even as they've grown substantially.
  2. Smart City Solutions: Connexin's smart city portfolio connects devices, integrates data, and optimizes municipal and telecom technology operations. Their solutions span Smart Utility, Smart Building, Smart Logistics, and Smart Environment, utilizing IoT to enhance efficiency and sustainability. They also offer LoRaWAN as a Service to third parties, providing fully managed IoT networks.
Connexin's smart city solutions empower customers with data-driven insights to address challenges related to leakage, pollution, consumption, and energy use. Connexin has parlayed its consistent technology innovation and customer-centricity into strong business growth – serving over 25,000 customers and doubling in size to over 200 employees in the last year alone.
Connexin's technology stack, which includes Fauna, Cloudflare Workers, and Next.js, embodies their broader data strategy for achieving high performance and scalability with minimal operational burden. With serverless and globally distributed components, this stack streamlines operations and empowers Connexin to innovate rapidly, enhancing its overall efficiency and reliability.

The challenge: Accommodating disparate and variable traffic patterns while supporting rapid business growth

Connexin’s complex set of business functions — broadband, IoT, and managed services — have distinctive operational requirements and traffic patterns.
Meanwhile, Connexin services both residential and business customers, and both categories possess a high degree of variability within them. For example, a multi-national telecom will likely have very different data, performance, and security requirements than a small municipal government or residential broadband customer.
This business variability results in mixed types of data workloads, and leads to a difficult task in selecting a technology stack that can support such disparate workloads at scale while maintaining a competitive total cost of ownership. These costs include the labor required to support the technology (and the opportunity cost associated with this undifferentiated support), the cost of the software itself, the cost to build out new features or applications, and the cost to build and maintain integrations between the constituent pieces of Connexin’s architecture.
Connexin's broadband segment generates a variety of data types, including user and billing information, coverage details, and equipment provisioning needs. This data feeds into a customer portal/order management system, admin portal, website, and CRM system. The smart city business, meanwhile, requires handling voluminous data coming from various sensors and devices in a lightweight manner. The sheer volume of readings from sensors and the aggregation and random arrival of millions of packets presented challenges related to data integrity, real-time synchronization, and effective storage.
Connexin needed an architecture that was versatile, scalable, and delivered transactional consistency in order to handle, aggregate, and store their dynamic data needs economically and with excellent performance for their customers.

The solution: API-delivered and distributed technologies

Connexin developed a data strategy anchoring on a templated approach, where a core set of composable, API-driven, and distributed-by-default technologies are used to both satisfy current requirements and serve as a foundation for greenfield applications as its business evolves. While Connexin’s customer base is largely isolated to the UK today, it prioritized technologies that could scale to multiple regions (and eventually the globe) over time without paying an engineering tax; scaling to multiple regions with a traditional database requires standing up cross-region data replication, optimizing data partitioning and sharding strategies, implementing global load balancing, and ensuring compliance with regional data privacy regulations…and then managing that whole stack for the life of your application. Only 4% of Connexin’s engineering team is dedicated to infrastructure management across its stack (with 96% of its team dedicated to differentiated application development). With one poll of IT leaders indicating that the average company allocates up to 75% of their IT budgets to legacy system maintenance, and a Gartner report suggesting that 80% of a company’s IT budget is dedicated to “keeping the lights on,” Connexin gains a competitive advantage and the ability to innovate faster via its serverless and distributed stack.

The stack: Future-proofing with Fauna and Cloudflare

Fauna + Connexin 6
Connexin’s adoption of Fauna and Cloudflare Workers reflects their broader data strategy to leverage modern and scalable solutions that drive world-class performance with limited operational overhead as new requirements arise.
“Everything in our stack is serverless and globally distributed by default,” explained Cameron Bell, Software Delivery Manager at Connexin. “Everything web-based is supported by Cloudflare Workers, and we leverage Next.js as our default front-end framework. Fauna fits perfectly into this mix because it’s delivered as an API and scales as we grow.”
Fauna provides robustness, flexibility, and consistency required for the diverse operational and transactional demands of each business segment. Cloudflare Workers deliver low-latency, edge-driven compute for their web applications. By leveraging Cloudflare's global network of edge locations, Connexin can deliver fast responses by processing requests as close as possible to their end-customers, minimizing the time it takes for data to travel back and forth. Next.js supplements this stack by providing a lightweight and efficient framework for building their front end, facilitating enhanced user experience and interaction.
“The serverless attributes of Cloudflare and Fauna means we can genuinely do more, faster,” shared Will Kebell, CTO at Connexin.

Why Fauna

Connexin needed an operational database that could both adapt to a variety of shifting access patterns, and enable the team to focus its engineering cycles on front-end innovation and not database operations.

API delivery model

Fauna is accessed via an API, which allows it to seamlessly integrate with Connexin’s broader serverless architecture, including ephemeral compute functions like Cloudflare Workers. This is particularly beneficial as it enables direct calls from the client, streamlining processes and enhancing response times. In scenarios without Fauna, an external wrapper would be needed, introducing additional layers of infrastructure and complexity. “An HTTP and API-driven database is very important for IoT where much of the infrastructure is connectionless,” explained Kebbell. Fauna’s API delivery model ultimately reduces the total cost of ownership by eliminating connection pools needed to maintain TCP/IP connections, as well as the engineering time dedicated to maintaining integration code.

Dynamic data model and strong querying capabilities

“We chose Fauna because it offers the flexibility of documents for getting started, but has relational database features like ACID transactions and stored-procedure-like capabilities with user defined functions. At the same time, it’s serverless which means no operations,” continued Kebbell. Fauna’s capabilities extend to running complex computations within the database, which allows the seamless transition of tasks through various stages. The Fauna Query Language (FQL) is a powerful and expressive language that enables complex queries while maintaining the flexibility and scalability of a more traditional NoSQL database.

Serverless and no-ops delivery

Fauna eliminates the overhead of server maintenance and management, allowing Connexin to focus on innovation and service optimization, thereby enhancing the overall efficiency and reliability of their solutions. “Fauna is a ‘fire and forget’ globally distributed database,” shared Kebbell. “We’ve tried them all and only Fauna is truly serverless.”

Distributed and edge compatible

The distributed nature of Fauna enables low latency data operations tailored to the specific transactional and operational demands of each business segment. Fauna automatically replicates data across various regions, directs queries to the nearest node for efficiency, and offers the highest level of consistency across distributed nodes via strict serializability. Fauna’s consistency model allows Connexin to keep their application code in Cloudfare Workers lightweight and performant as they don’t have to build consistency rules into the application code.

Database multi-tenancy

Fauna has a powerful model of lightweight hierarchical databases. It is very easy to create one database per Connexin customer, while still managing all databases as a whole. This is important for Connexin as they have use cases where each tenant needs their own unique database to store access keys and perform metadata reporting efficiently.

Conclusion

Connexin's data strategy has enabled it to allocate resources towards what matters: growing the business and supporting their customers. Using Fauna and Cloudflare together has not only streamlined operations but also freed up engineering resources from infrastructure maintenance, allowing more focus on front-end innovation and enhancing customer service. Their modular and API-driven architecture has given them the agility to adapt to varying data needs, illustrating how modern, scalable solutions can foster business expansion while maintaining a competitive edge.
If you're looking to learn more about bulding with Fauna and Cloudflare, check out the starter guide, or a video-sharing sample app for a more advanced tutorial.
Sign-up for a free Fauna account, check out the Fauna community forums to engage with fellow builders, and get in touch if you have any questions!

If you enjoyed our blog, and want to work on systems and challenges related to globally distributed systems, and serverless databases, Fauna is hiring!

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