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May - 2016 - issue > CXO Insights
Debashis Saha
VP, Commerce Platform Infrastructure-eBay
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Creating More Scalable and Efficient Technologies

It's not just about vendors, but technology in general. Most products and services are designed for a much smaller scale. At eBay, we are constantly working to create more scalable and efficient technologies. We are always looking to challenge the limits of our system design and evolve the technologies to respond to rapidly changing business climate.

Our design goals for availability, scalability, and performance are often very different from most enterprises. We also look to build our technologies on commodity hardware and software and in a modular fashion. These are very different principles from what and how traditional software systems have been built and delivered over the years.

Empowering People to Create Opportunity through Commerce

At eBay, we were founded on the principle of empowering people to create opportunity through commerce. We have taken that belief into the technology world, and we are strong believers in collaboration and open source projects. Through our open source projects, we have worked alongside our peers to tackle complex technology challenges by creating new best-in-class solutions and advance the world of technology.

Creating an Environment that Fosters Creativity and Innovation

We believe in creating an environment that fosters creativity and innovation. A culture of open source empowers our developers to continue to push the boundaries in technology where they are passionate and provides men and women with an opportunity to collaborate across organizational and company boundaries. Passion fuels creativity and innovation, which ensures we are creating a culture of unbounded potential.

Processing Billions of Data Requests Each Day

As eBay just celebrated its 20th anniversary, we have matured to a company that is processing billions of data requests each day. eBay has over 800 million listing on its site and 126million active buyers. As a global company, we are generating billons of web requests and service calls, millions of metrics per second and see hundreds of TBs of data logged every day. We understand the great technical challenges that are required to grow and scale an infrastructure needed to support massive data sets. This enormous data set is a challenge and a technologists dream to work on. Because of the vast amounts of data, we have been focusing on ways to better manage our data, while utilizing it for business insights. Additionally, we have spent a lot of time with the open source community, working on projects that will help us accelerate the rate of adoption within the tech industry.

Building in Automation from the Get-Go

While implementations are important, you should always think about your short and long-term goals and figure out how new technology can help to meet your needs.

Design for the long-term, but build for the short-term and in rapid iterations. We need to design for zero downtime of every aspect of our platforms and infrastructure. This includes updates to both the software systems and the infrastructure elements that run the software. Systems and services need to be built with a "generational evolution" in mind that can be constantly upgraded without any customer impact. Another aspect is building in automation from the get-go, which will make a big impact in long run.

Dedicated to the Tech Community by Sharing New Advances

At eBay, we are firm believers that technology should be open. As an industry leader, we are committed to sharing new advances with the community. We have identified specific are as in data and cloud technologies that are important to the tech industry. We help to expand and grow the ecosystem by contributing back to the industry as a whole, and we encourage other leading companies to do the same so innovation never happens in silos.

Solution to Ever Changing Business Climates and Customer Needs

The biggest challenge entrepreneurs face every day is deciding what to do. What to do is often decided by having clarity over what not to do. Startups and entrepreneurs have limited resources and they need to have a laser-sharp focus on what is the most important problem. Entrepreneurs are always presented a multitude of options and they must resist the temptation to do it all. It is extremely important to develop a strategy of minimalism while maintaining the agility and flexibility to respond to ever-changing business climates and customer needs.

Broad and Pervasive Use of Machine Learning

The most important trend to watch for is the broad and pervasive use of Machine Learning in all aspects of technology. It will be interesting to see how Machine Learning will change our interactions with the technology itself. Technology will become more personal, more intuitive, and more natural.

The transformation, or rather the speed of transformation, will depend on our ability to collect, process and learn for the massive amount of data that we will be generating and collecting every minute. We will start to see blending of online, offline and complex machine learning processing and the ability to deliver all of these in real-time.

It will be fascinating to see how technology will continue to evolve, influencing how we interact and leverage it for business.
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