SendGrid Seamlessly Deploys New Services with Automated API Monitoring
If you’ve ever received email from a business you trust, there’s a good chance it was delivered by SendGrid. The company solves the challenges of email delivery for the likes of Airbnb, Spotify and Uber. Since launching in 2009, SendGrid has achieved the highest levels of customer satisfaction by delivering email that matters.
SendGrid serves more than 200,000 customers, due in large part to its commitment to internal and customer-facing APIs. “SendGrid was built from the ground up as a cloud service, and our API is core to our infrastructure and our business,” says Brandon West, API Product Manager at SendGrid. When the time came to ship a new version of SendGrid’s API, managing versions was critical to the customer experience.
Managing Change with Hundreds of Endpoints
Deploying a new version of a monolith API with hundreds of endpoints and services is no easy feat. In order to release the best version without interrupting the customer experience, West and his team chose to deploy endpoint by endpoint. “In keeping with our core values of customer satisfaction, testing the new endpoints before they reach customers was a critical step we were lacking,” says West.
West began writing simple scripts and integration tests to verify each new endpoint before it reached customers. “With the hundreds of endpoints that we have, building tests manually wasn’t scalable and was wasting time that could be spent on working with developers and building out our docs,” says West. “When I signed up for Runscope, it solved the deployment pains that our engineering organization had been dealing with.”
Mitigating Risk for a Low TCO
Using Runscope, West and his team began creating automated tests for newly deployed endpoints to verify that they were ready to be released to customers. “We immediately saw value in the speed with which we could create tests, and the data that was returned around why our tests failed,” adds West.
When West shared Runscope with other teams, “it took little convincing to get the broader team up and running,” says West. “Mitigating the risk of having a broken API is worth the price.”
Maintaining Consistency Across API Versions with Monitoring
SendGrid’s Developer Evangelism, QA and Operations teams dove into Runscope to create tests for the numerous endpoints in place on both its legacy API, as well as the new version. “We were able to go from idea to production in just a few weeks” says West. “Considering the scope of our API and multi-step workflows, using Runscope has resulted in a huge time savings for us.”
SendGrid now monitors more than 180 methods and requests, many by the minute and from multiple locations. “By monitoring our API, our site reliability engineers are notified about problems right away—and they can fix issues before they reach our customers,” adds West. “Runscope opens our eyes to a broad range of API problems, including issues so small they would otherwise be undetected.”
For example, when West created a test around a niche endpoint that gets very little usage by customers, he discovered a flaw as soon as he clicked “Run Test.” In what has now become a standard workflow, West shared the results with Engineering, who was able to fix the issue fast.
“Knowing there’s a problem is one thing, but knowing why the problem happened so we can fix it quickly is worth a ton,” says West. He and his team make that information actionable by integrating with HipChat for real-time notifications and Keen IO for deeper analytics into the data.
Preparing for Future Expansion
By including API performance monitoring as an essential step in its workflow, West’s team is pleased to see the fruits of its labor. “Since using Runscope to monitor our API, we are seeing that our new API work is far more resilient than we had thought,” says West. “The company has confidence in deploying our new API to customers because we’ve been assured by Runscope that it’s fast and reliable, and deploys are seamless.”
Based on the strength of the API, SendGrid has grown to become an industry leader for email delivery, sending more than 18 billion emails a month. With Runscope’s API tools at its fingertips and tests in place for hundreds of endpoints, SendGrid is well prepared to expand its platform and welcome more adoption from prospective customers.
“We monitor our email pipeline very closely and are excited to start making some of the data we uncover more actionable to improve the overall immune system of the organization,” says West. “Now that we have Runscope, we can do that.”