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The Software Behind the Software - How Improving Jungle Disk backend Services Improves the Overall Customer Experience

Here at Jungle Disk, we take great pride in our software and the experience we provide to our customers. We’re always trying to improve our software and services to make things faster, simpler, more resilient, etc. Sometimes achieving those goals means taking on a project to improve services that customers use every day without even knowing it. Earlier this year, our backend software development team embarked on a mission to completely re-write our Gateway server code and aimed to improve the overall resilience, stability and maintainability of this vital backend service.

Our “Gateway” service is at the very heart of what allows our server backup software to be remotely managed from any computer. This key feature is what allows our customers to manage every server they backup with Jungle Disk without having to ever log into their servers. You can see that this backend service, while ostensibly invisible to a user, is absolutely vital to the success of our server backup software.

For the most part, this service was reliable and rarely caused any customer facing challenges, however, there were shortcomings we wanted to address.

Our core goals in re-writing this service were pretty simple:

  • Make it highly available
  • Allow the service to be load balanced
  • Allow the service to share a memory space
  • Streamline the infrastructure necessary to run the Gateway service
  • Improve general scalability of the service (make it easy to add more nodes as necessary)
  • Make provisions for future features to be added to the Gateway service
  • Match functionality/performance of the existing Gateway service

These goals may sound pretty technical and in the weeds, so you may be asking how this correlates to user experience of the Jungle Disk Server backup software? For one, the new Gateway service is much more resilient than it’s predecessor. For example, if one of the Gateway servers were to fail, even temporarily, any users connected to their servers via the Jungle Disk Server Management software would have lost their connection to the server backup they were in the process of managing. While any scheduled or running backups would not have been impacted, the experience of being disconnected and unable to immediately reconnect and continue their session would be very frustrating. Additionally, if our operations team needed to perform maintenance on the Gateway, any users connecting to that particular Gateway would have needed to log into their servers and restart the server backup agent in order to reconnect with the Server Management software.

Our new Gateway service solves both of the aforementioned challenges and does so gracefully. Solving these challenges required a significant amount of deep technical discussions in order to land on the right solution. As of late November, we have completely decommissioned all servers running the old Gateway service and all customer traffic is now being routed to our new Gateways. If you’re a Jungle Disk server backup customer, you may not have noticed a single change and that was by design.

This is just one example of improvements that have been made to a service that customers use but never see. There are a myriad other “behind the scenes” services that customers use through interactions with our website and software. We’ll continue to focus our efforts on making additional improvements that will benefit user experience. After all, customers are the whole reason we’re here!

As we look toward the future of our server backup software, our new Gateway code provides a solid foundation upon which we can continue to improve the user experience. We will continue to implement new features and capabilities that will further simplify and streamline how users interact with the software. Personally, I am very excited for the future of the Gateway service and our server backup software! I think customers will be pleased with their overall user experience.

Have some feedback? Let us know your thoughts by dropping us a line at feedback@jungledisk.com

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