Customer Story

PayPal puts data at the heart of its fraud strategy with Aerospike

About the company

The world's largest online payment system


PayPal is the world’s largest online money transfer, billing and payments system. It owns the PayPal, Venmo, iZettle, Xoom, Braintree, and Paydiant brands. By leveraging technology to make financial services and commerce more convenient, affordable, and secure, the PayPal platform empowers over 325 million consumers and merchants in over 200 markets to join and thrive in the global economy.


Scaling a fraud prevention solution with 32% annual data growth

While PayPal’s fraud rate is impressively lower than the industry average – 0.17% of revenue compared to 1.86% – that small fraction represents over $1B in annual losses. In response, PayPal built a decision platform to identify emerging fraud patterns in real time while minimizing end-user friction. The platform processed, analyzed, and merged big data with fast data, such as customer enrollment, payment, invoicing preferences, and profile data. In 2015, PayPal realized their legacy NoSQL solution was unable to keep up performance while handling massive amounts of data it was collecting and processing. PayPal began a search for a cost-effective database that could both meet their short term and long term needs to scale horizontally, ensure high performance, and uptime.

Real-time decisioning

Needed to quickly process and analyze data to identify emerging fraud patterns in under 200 milliseconds

Faster data processing

Requirement to grow from 3.5 transactions per second to 7 million transactions per second

Scaling for huge amounts of data

Data scale challenges included hundreds of petabytes

Requirements met with Aerospike

When their legacy NoSQL database couldn’t deliver results without a deterioration in performance, PayPal turned to Aerospike. With its high-performance NoSQL database, Aerospike is built explicitly to run on flash and Persistent Memory (PMem), not DRAM, while consistently delivering speed at scale.

Meet SLAs 99.95%, reducing fraud exposure by 30x

Complete machine learning based fraud detection calculations in the prescribed time window otherwise they risk allowing a fraudulent transaction to occur

Cost effectively scale up and out

Handle extreme 32% annual growth in data and objects while keeping total cost of operations low

Improve query performance and data consistency

Strongly consistent data simplifies application logic and thus query performance simultaneously

99.99% uptime

Maintain consistent high availability in a 24/7 environment necessary for digital payments

Slash data load times

While providing reliable access to fresh data — resulting in 12x reduction in re-indexing time

8 million TPS

Enable more than eight million executions per second across the database environments, which includes RDBMS and NoSQL systems

Scalability, growth, and cost savings — right away and over time

PayPal’s partnership with Aerospike delivered huge initial successes while providing the company a growth path to take advantage of the latest hardware and software advances. PayPal’s initial deployment with Aerospike’s patented Hybrid Memory Architecture™ (HMA) solution provided massive cost savings and huge improvements in fraud calculation, all while maintaining high performance and frictionless customer experience.

After 2015, PayPal’s fraud decision platform ballooned to over 4,000 database instances, with 100 petabytes of data, and added 32% data storage each year. In the meantime, a multiyear collaboration between Intel and Aerospike enabled optimizations for higher performance than SSDs, lower cost per GB than DRAM, higher node densities, and data indexes which persist over system restarts. PayPal took advantage of these advances and evaluated 2nd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors and Intel® Optane™ PMem to increase overall storage density and reduce DRAM costs with Aerospike. With these improvements, PayPal was able to further lower TCO and gain additional technical benefits over the initial solution, including:

30x reduction fraud exposure

Improved SLA adherence for completing fraud prevention calculations to 99.95% up from 98.5%.

8x reduction in server footprint

From 1024 servers down to 120.

3x cost reduction

$9m hardware cost savings projected from $12.5m down to $3.5m.

5x throughput improvement

From 200K to 1M transactions per second.

Surpass limits with Aerospike