Case Study

mail.de Increases Performance and Availability Through Operational Intelligence

Executive Summary

mail.de, an email provider located in Gütersloh, Germany, prides itself on its innovative and secure email services. Since 2012, mail.de has offered users FreeMail, a product that combines the highest quality and security requirements with a free email address. The emerging company’s IT infrastructure consists of an extremely varied server landscape, including different log-file formats and a rapidly growing volume of machine-generated data. mail.de needed a centralized system to turn this raw data into operational and business insight. Since deploying Splunk Enterprise, mail.de has seen benefits including: 

  • Enhanced customer service
  • Real-time business insights
  • Considerable time savings
Challenges
    • Needed to consolidate and correlate logs from heterogeneous systems to enable easier monitoring and real-time alerting
    • Wanted to provide a centralized view of IT landscape in order to identify and rectify system errors faster
    • Mission to deliver more responsive customer support
Business Impact
    • Real-time alerting resulting in faster troubleshooting, improved service availability and time savings for the IT team
    • Enhanced customer support with the ability to investigate and resolve queries in real time
    • Business intelligence can now be visualized more consistently and provided to management and marketing teams in a time-saving self-service manner

     

Data Sources
    • Mail server logs
    • Web server logs
    • Database logs
    • Application logs 

Why Splunk

Because mail.de offers its customers secure, high-performance email communication, ensuring that the service is highly available is business critical. The company's IT infrastructure consists of a number of heterogeneous systems with different log-file formats and a continually increasing volume of machine-generated data.  This made it difficult for mail.de to gain a holistic view of the state of its IT landscape in order to identify errors in the system and avoid or minimize system downtime. When disruptions occurred, the IT team had to search for the root cause on all the different systems—a protracted, time-consuming process—which negatively impacted the availability of services. mail.de wanted a new solution that would make it possible to centrally monitor all log files and introduce a real-time alerting system.

mail.de discovered Splunk Enterprise and a small team implemented it in just a few hours, without the need for external consultants. Whenever the mail.de IT team had questions, they were able rely on the support community at Splunk Answers (answers.splunk.com). mail.de quickly realized the potential of the Splunk platform and complemented the deployment with apps, including the Google Maps Add-on for Splunk.  

“Before introducing Splunk software we had limited visibility into our own systems to a certain extent, which was impacting the service we could provide our customers. With Splunk Enterprise, we can localize errors in our system and proactively solve customer issues, all in real time. We have been able to greatly increase the availability of our services as a result, while also expanding our use of Splunk software to deliver real-time insights to our customers and executives. We see enormous potential for further Splunk use cases at mail.de.”



Fabian Bock, Founder and CEO, mail.de GmbH

Read the Press Release

Optimized service through operational insight

Proactive real-time monitoring has proven to be an especially important feature for mail.de's IT division. When an error occurs in the system, the root cause must be found as quickly as possible. In order to constantly optimize its entire service offering, mail.de has set up various alerts that immediately transmit an email notification in case of system failure or other anomalies.

The mail.de support team also uses Splunk Enterprise to quickly diagnose any issues raised by customers. The team can quickly locate and fix problems when they occur. If a customer’s email does not reach the intended recipient, it takes just seconds for the support team to determine whether an internal error exists or the problem is on the receiver's side. 

Correlation results in time and money savings

Central indexing of all log files as well as the ability to correlate current and historical data in real time has resulted in considerable time savings for the entire company. With Splunk Enterprise, many different systems can be analyzed with just a few clicks. In addition, all divisions receive the information that is most important for them in a simple and easy-to-use format.

Teams also receive specific additional information ad hoc when necessary. For example, if a customer asks the support team about the whereabouts of a particular email, in just a few minutes the team can clarify whether the mail was delivered.

Business insights across divisions deliver clear value

The benefits of Splunk Enterprise have been realized by every division and group within mail.de, including management. mail.de's management looks at the performance of key business metrics via Splunk reports and dashboards. In this way, management is provided with a graphical display of the most important business figures, such as the number of new registrations for the FreeMail service. The marketing team uses insights from Splunk Enterprise to evaluate the effectiveness of certain campaigns and drill down into the behavior of customers. Performance and support issues can now be identified and resolved in the shortest possible time. Proactive alerting helps the firm head off issues before a customer is ever aware of them. Splunk Enterprise is helping mail.de fulfill its promise to provide the most reliable, secure and feature-rich email communications service available.