Engineering · 4 min read

How Fullstory achieves scalability and reliability with Google Cloud

Dan Kuebrich & Christian Lohr
Posted April 20, 2023
How Fullstory achieves scalability and reliability with Google Cloud

Imagine being an engineer at a SaaS company. Your product must reliably and securely process more than a trillion events–we’re talking about handling 80,000 years worth of user data–over the course of a single year. This is precisely the challenge for Fullstory engineering: in 2022, Fullstory customers captured 25 billion user sessions, comprising a whopping 79 billion pages.

Doing all that work requires great software and also great infrastructure. We recently published a case study with Google Cloud about the key services we rely on to make this work. Here, we expand on a few of the details.

Digital Experience Intelligence

Fullstory is a Digital Experience Intelligence (DXI) company. We build a product that serves as x-ray vision into users’ digital experiences by providing session replay and product analytics. This combination allows our customers to see all their qualitative and quantitative data in one place. For example, through session replay, Fullstory helps companies track down why their users repeatedly mash their mice on UI elements, aka “Rage Clicks”.

Flexible, scalable, and secure

Receiving and making sense of all that data is no small task. In order to build such a robust platform, we need something flexible, scalable and secure. These platform qualities enable our team to ship with confidence and iterate efficiently.

As the size of and demands from our engineering team grow, so do the demands on our underlying platform infrastructure. To solve these scalability issues, Fullstory engineering relies on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). GKE provides containerized application management, powered by Kubernetes, which includes load balancing, automatic scaling and upgrades. Combined with a home-grown service skeleton, this allows teams to self-service provisioning of hundreds of services over a thousand VMs, without having to worry about learning the nuances of resource allocation, permissions management, and more.

In addition to GKE, Fullstory employs many other Google Cloud resources to help solve scaling issues. A few examples:

  • GCS and BigTable are the primary sources of data storage for the Fullstory product, receiving terabytes of data per day.

  • Pub/sub and Dataflow orchestrate our real-time streaming processing pipelines, which make end-user data available for analysis seconds after it is collected.

  • BigQuery serves not only as our data warehouse for internal analytics and logging, but also as a resource for our customers: in partnership with GCP, we recently launched Data Destinations streaming sync into BigQuery.

  • The Google CDN helps millions of end-users around the world load our low-overhead analytics in milliseconds.

Privacy first

Not only does Fullstory process and analyze exceedingly large datasets, but we also keep them safe. When collecting such vast customer data, security is of the utmost importance. This is another reason why Fullstory chooses Google Cloud, which provides a secure-by-design foundation. By combining this with adherence to infrastructure as code (via terraform) and various security monitoring and scanning tools, we can provide solid infrastructure security.

The product itself takes privacy and security to the next level on top of this: in-app privacy features allow businesses to dive deep into their customers’ digital experience and analytics data without having to ever collect or parse sensitive user information.

Working together

Of course, Fullstory isn’t just a pile of code running in Google Cloud; there are humans who work to make all the magic happen. In addition to building a secure and scalable product, Fullstory also strives to build a cohesive and collaborative work culture across all departments. By leveraging Google Workspace, teams can easily create and share Google Docs and Sheets to effectively collaborate in a remote-first environment. Workspace provides a homogenous, secure environment that is intuitive and easy to share information.

Expanded partnership

Recently, Fullstory announced a formal partnership with Google Cloud through our availability on the Google Cloud Marketplace, enabling brands and teams worldwide to create more perfect digital products, websites, and apps.

To learn more about the Fullstory & Google Cloud partnership:

Want a perfect website or app? Fullstory can help. Request a demo today.

Dan Kuebrich & Christian Lohr

About the author

Dan is VP of platform engineering at Fullstory. He previously spent a decade working on distributed tracing and observability as co-founder of Tracelytics. He likes games, making things, and biking around town with his family.

Christian is a Sr. Technical Program Manager working to bridge the gap between engineering and business teams. He is a full-time technologist and part-time hockey coach who loves it when a plan comes together.

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