Case Studies

Pythian helps FreshDirect deliver exceptional customer experience

Company: FreshDirect – New York City, NY, USA
Market: Retail
Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC)
Oracle Automatic Storage Management (ASM)

Offering online grocery shopping and next-day delivery service, FreshDirect has become one of New York’s success stories. The company has more than 6,000 different fresh food and grocery items and in a given day will process between 4,000 and 10,000 orders. When clients started experiencing significant log-in delays, FreshDirect turned to Pythian to address the issue quickly.

    • 120x faster log-in speed
    • Reduced costs achieved through new efficiencies and operational reliability


Today, FreshDirect’s production environment involves more than 40 databases, including more complex technologies such as Oracle RAC and Automatic Storage Management (ASM). The rapid growth of applications and new e-commerce functionalities continues to challenge the team at FreshDirect. In one particular situation, some FreshDirect users had been experiencing cumulative log-in delays. The more times an individual consumer ordered, the longer it took him or her to log on; sometimes up to 60 seconds longer. For any e-commerce site, this is critical as the overall user experience is tied directly to whether or not the customer will continue and return for repeat business. With FreshDirect’s customer base of more than 250,000+ growing rapidly, they knew they needed to resolve their performance issues quickly.


Since databases are at the core of its business, FreshDirect turned to Pythian, its trusted database infrastructure support partner since 2005. While FreshDirect’s own monitoring tools hadn’t detected the issue, Pythian was able to quickly identify and remedy the problem. In the case of the cumulative log-in delay issue, Pythian advocated for and led a project to rewrite the user authentication process, which included application and database changes as well as database design elements.


The results of the application and database changes resulted in a quantifiable improvement that no customer could miss. Log-in time was reduced to .5 seconds — 120 times faster. Throughout the years, Pythian has applied its breadth of knowledge to solve issues that fall within and outside of the scope of database administration. Because of the inherent advantages of the Pythian open-scope, flexible delivery model, FreshDirect is able to take advantage of economies of scale, resulting in a lower cost per database server. FreshDirect’s customers continue to benefit from a better overall customer experience and user reliability. Another advantage for FreshDirect is reduced costs through new efficiencies and noticeably improved operational reliability, which enables them to continue to focus on their core business: delivering the freshest and highest quality food products to their customers.

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