Product News

Our app has a new homepage

Boris Jabes
Boris Jabes February 26, 2024

Boris is the CEO of Census. Previously, he was the CEO of Meldium, acquired by LogMeIn. He is an advisor and alumnus of Y Combinator. He enjoys nerding out about data and technology, 8-bit graphics, and helping other startup founders.

Quickly discover & diagnose issues

When you build a product, especially a business tool, you need a “launchpad” of sorts. At first we created a page for users to get started and create their first sync. Now we have lots of organizations with dozens of syncs. The launchpad needed to evolve to manage the whole running system at a glance. I’m happy to announce we just shipped a delightful new app homepage.

last 30 days grouped by status

The new homepage displays a summary of all the sync activity across a workspace. The dashboard helps users diagnose the health of the overall system across every live sync. From this starting point teams can detect and resolve alerts to ensure business teams are always working with the best data.

Monitoring and the reality of putting data into action

The purpose of our product from its foundation is to turn data into action. Instead of using insights to build charts with BI tools, Census powers live workflows in every tool across the business (e.g. advertising campaigns, personalized emails, routing support tickets, etc).

On the one hand this increases the leverage of your data investments. On the other hand, it means failures can cause more damage, especially when syncs go fast. When we think of our investments in the product, we always try to increase both the spread of data to more destinations and the quality of the data in those systems. The more consumers trust the data at their fingertips the more they'll automate and grow the business!

That's why Census automatically detects failures (e.g. we prevent sending conflicting duplicate items). It's why we have a GitHub integration that flags changes the engineering team is making when they break downstream business contracts. It’s why we integrate directly with security & observability platforms like Datadog. It's also why we recently shipped a flexible alerting system so that data & operations teams can detect and deal with issues as they occur. Some of our customers use Census to keep 1+ billion records in sync across a dozen systems and these alerts are crucial.

More than meets the eye

Our goal with this first release is to give you a bird's eye view of the last 30 days of activity and the ability to analyze that history to find anomalies and quickly resolve alerts.

Once you land on the page, you've got a few ways to zoom in and investigate issues with our rich filters:

  • Filter to the last 12 hours, 24 hours, 7 days, or 30 days of activity
  • Display the aggregate of all records, or filter to successful vs. failed records
  • Group by destination or by status
  • Pick a single destination as a filter

Here's an example of diving into a single destination and looking at just its failed records.

one destination last 30 days filtered to failed

On the side panel you can see all the open alerts in your system. This is a great inbox of issues you may want to address. The alerts auto-resolve when the related sync recovers, so you know anything in the list is something worth investigating.

Scale to infinity

We work with startups and with the world's largest companies. We work with B2B teams syncing 10K accounts and B2C behemoths that sync 1B+ users. The best way to ensure everyone can take advantage of our service is to ensure it's observable and auditable to the lowest level of detail. The new homepage is quite flexible and it's built on top of the rich layers of observability in our system. The homepage should help you resolve most issues directly but if you want deeper observability of our system, check out our groundbreaking warehouse writeback capabilities and our SIEM integrations into apps like Datadog.

The new homepage is available to all users & workspaces. Let us know what you think!

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For years, working with high-quality data in real time was an elusive goal for data teams. Two hurdles blocked real-time data activation on Snowflake from becoming a reality: Lack of low-latency data flows and transformation pipelines The compute cost of running queries at high frequency in order to provide real-time insights Today, we’re solving both of those challenges by partnering with Snowflake to support our real-time Live Syncs, which can be 100 times faster and 100 times cheaper to operate than traditional Reverse ETL. You can create a Live Sync using any Snowflake table (including Dynamic Tables) as a source, and sync data to over 200 business tools within seconds. We’re proud to offer the fastest Reverse ETL platform on the planet, and the only one capable of real-time activation with Snowflake. 👉 Luke Ambrosetti discusses Live Sync architecture in-depth on Snowflake’s Medium blog here. Real-Time Composable CDP with Snowflake Developed alongside Snowflake’s product team, we’re excited to enable the fastest-ever data activation on Snowflake. Today marks a massive paradigm shift in how quickly companies can leverage their first-party data to stay ahead of their competition. In the past, businesses had to implement their real-time use cases outside their Data Cloud by building a separate fast path, through hosted custom infrastructure and event buses, or piles of if-this-then-that no-code hacks — all with painful limitations such as lack of scalability, data silos, and low adaptability. Census Live Syncs were born to tear down the latency barrier that previously prevented companies from centralizing these integrations with all of their others. Census Live Syncs and Snowflake now combine to offer real-time CDP capabilities without having to abandon the Data Cloud. This Composable CDP approach transforms the Data Cloud infrastructure that companies already have into an engine that drives business growth and revenue, delivering huge cost savings and data-driven decisions without complex engineering. Together we’re enabling marketing and business teams to interact with customers at the moment of intent, deliver the most personalized recommendations, and update AI models with the freshest insights. Doing the Math: 100x Faster and 100x Cheaper There are two primary ways to use Census Live Syncs — through Snowflake Dynamic Tables, or directly through Snowflake Streams. Near real time: Dynamic Tables have a target lag of minimum 1 minute (as of March 2024). Real time: Live Syncs can operate off a Snowflake Stream directly to achieve true real-time activation in single-digit seconds. Using a real-world example, one of our customers was looking for real-time activation to personalize in-app content immediately. They replaced their previous hourly process with Census Live Syncs, achieving an end-to-end latency of <1 minute. They observed that Live Syncs are 144 times cheaper and 150 times faster than their previous Reverse ETL process. It’s rare to offer customers multiple orders of magnitude of improvement as part of a product release, but we did the math. Continuous Syncs (traditional Reverse ETL) Census Live Syncs Improvement Cost 24 hours = 24 Snowflake credits. 24 * $2 * 30 = $1440/month ⅙ of a credit per day. ⅙ * $2 * 30 = $10/month 144x Speed Transformation hourly job + 15 minutes for ETL = 75 minutes on average 30 seconds on average 150x Cost The previous method of lowest latency Reverse ETL, called Continuous Syncs, required a Snowflake compute platform to be live 24/7 in order to continuously detect changes. This was expensive and also wasteful for datasets that don’t change often. Assuming that one Snowflake credit is on average $2, traditional Reverse ETL costs 24 credits * $2 * 30 days = $1440 per month. Using Snowflake’s Streams to detect changes offers a huge saving in credits to detect changes, just 1/6th of a single credit in equivalent cost, lowering the cost to $10 per month. Speed Real-time activation also requires ETL and transformation workflows to be low latency. In this example, our customer needed real-time activation of an event that occurs 10 times per day. First, we reduced their ETL processing time to 1 second with our HTTP Request source. On the activation side, Live Syncs activate data with subsecond latency. 1 second HTTP Live Sync + 1 minute Dynamic Table refresh + 1 second Census Snowflake Live Sync = 1 minute end-to-end latency. This process can be even faster when using Live Syncs with a Snowflake Stream. For this customer, using Census Live Syncs on Snowflake was 144x cheaper and 150x faster than their previous Reverse ETL process How Live Syncs work It’s easy to set up a real-time workflow with Snowflake as a source in three steps: