Case Study – Thoughtworks

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Build a secure Authorization Service for an online Learning Institution.

Integrate OrientDB’s Graph database with a permissive licensing model to develop the application.

Use OrientDB’s graph database, distributed capabilities and OSS support. Face the challenges of constantly evolving software through dedicated support channels.

Successful launch of Authorization Services with ever-growing volumes and constantly evolving software.

About ThoughtWorks

ThoughtWorks is software company and a community of passionate, purpose-led individuals. They think disruptively to deliver technology to address clients’ toughest challenges, all while seeking to revolutionize the IT industry and create positive social change.

Building Home Grown Solutions From the Ground Up


ThoughtWorks, the world-wide software design and pioneering consulting provider, has decades of experience in the software industry and is a vocal advocate of Agile software development. Through their collaborative attitude, evolutionary development style, deep desire for continuous learning and ethical corporate philosophy1, they have successfully delivered projects to companies ranging from BBC to Samsung, all the while being at the forefront of responsible social change.

This is the reason why one of the largest networking companies in the world chose ThoughtWorks to help develop their Learning Institution. By providing everything from training videos, study groups, self learning tools and certifications, this online Learning Center enables their community to engage in active discussions while equipping them with all the tools needed to enrich their learning experience.

When faced with the task of building an Authorization Service, they initially attempted to use a few off-the-shelf solutions. Not content with any instantly available solutions, and being no stranger to building applications from the ground up, they quickly embraced the notion of developing a home-grown Authorization Solution.

The Popular Choice is Not Always the Best Fit

In order to develop an authorization sub system, ThoughtWorks recognized the need for a graph data model in order to accomplish their business goals. “We did look at [other] graph database solutions like Neo4J. We had challenges on the Pricing and the Licensing Model” said Karthik Krishnan, Developer at ThoughtWorks. “We wanted to support OSS and wanted to have an option to use the Community editions if the situation demanded.”

“We did look at other graph database solutions like Neo4J. We had challenges on the pricing and the licensing model.”

– Karthik Krishnan, ThoughtWorks Developer.

Distributed Graph Database for Impressive Outcomes

Upon reviewing their options, other divisions within their client’s company recommended OrientDB. Parallelly, ThoughtWorks had researched OrientDB online and decided it was worth trying. With affordable pricing, distributed capabilities, a straight-forward and liberal licensing model, free community edition as well as OSS support, OrientDB ticked all the boxes and was the graph database of choice for ThoughtWorks.

“We had initially performed certain spikes to test the functionality and features promised. We were quite impressed with the spike outcome.”

– Karthik Krishnan, ThoughtWorks Developer.

In order to solidify their decision, tests were in order. “We had initially performed certain spikes to test the functionality and features promised. We were quite impressed with the spike outcome.” mentioned Karthik Krishnan. Of course, no major implementation comes without challenges. In some cases, performance on volumes was impacted in certain scenarios. With OrientDB providing a dedicated Support IRC Chat Channel, ThoughtWorks was able to instantly reach out to the OrientDB Technical support and core developers to resolve the issues. When dealing with constantly evolving software already in production, software upgrades can present challenges that need to be overcome. At times, a quick conference call was needed in order to discuss and sort out new roadblocks.

Increasing Volumes for Evolving Software

ThoughtWorks successfully launched their Authorization Service for their customer’s Learning Institution in mid 2015. Their product continues to evolve and volumes continue to increase. Challenges are met head-on, knowing that dedicated support is quickly provided when infrastructural components are affected by software upgrades or further issues presented by constantly evolving software.



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The native multi-model database combines the connectedness of graphs, the agility of documents and a familiar SQL dialect. Fortune 500 companies, government entities and startups all use the technology to build large-scale innovative applications. Some of their clients include Comcast, Ericsson, the United Nations, Verisign, Pitney Bowes, Sky, Diaku, CenturyLink and Sonatype.

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