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HubSpot Review


HubSpot Technology

HubSpot is a browser-based SaaS application that uses a multi-tenant database architecture.

As with most marketing software systems, customers install a small piece of JavaScript on their web sites, much like the Google Analytics code snippet, in order to track visitor information such as online browsing history, email actions, form submissions, and social media postings.

From the HubSpot side, the company is managing thousands of customer web sites, each with many web pages and volumes of visitor activities, and collecting terabytes of data. With all that data, the company went from a simple database storage and SQL analysis system to instead using parallel Hadoop analytics clusters with dozens of machines on Amazon EC2 and Hive (for Hadoop queries) in order to keep the processing scalable.

From a software development standpoint, the HubSpot TOFU tools within the CMS (such as the blog engine and SEO tools) are written in C#, using the ASP.Net framework, running on IIS web servers, and using the SQL Server database. The MOFU marketing automation tools are developed in a mix of Python and Java, but mostly Java, and use MySQL and Apache, and run largely on Amazon EC2.

Application server-side code is largely Java with some C# and Python. Web servers are hosted primarily in Apache with Django for Python apps. The databases themselves are mostly MySQL but some CMS tools use SQL Server. HubSpot runs the CentOS operating system on its Amazon EC2 servers with Windows Server for C# application servers. Setup for new Amazon EC2 instances is done automatically via Puppet and a dedicated team called the “Q Team”, named after a James Bond character, creates, updates and maintains Puppet.

HubSpot Hosting & Cloud Delivery

HubSpot hosting takes a federated approach, using hundreds of servers designed with fail-over for business continuity purposes. HubSpot is hosted from Rackspace in Chicago and Texas and also Amazon EC2 in Virginia and the West coast. The company also uses Akamai in many global locations for delivery of static assets. The company maintains a hosting Trust site at and while it does incur sporadic downtime, overall uptime is impressive.

Unfortunately, the Trust site only uses elementary tools (i.e. Pingdom) and displays limited hosting performance data. More so, the company does not offer any uptime assurances, a Service Level Agreement (SLA) or some of the most recognized hosting audits and attestations such as an SSAE 16 (aka SAS 70) for U.S. customers or ISO 27001 for global customers.

HubSpot data centers are SSAE 16 certified, however, HubSpot itself is not which increases risk of SaaS downtime and system compromise. SaaS history shows that when SaaS downtime occurs, its seldom the result of a third party data center breach with ping or power but more likely caused by actions of the data center customer (in this case, the publisher being HubSpot) and often the result of events such as a new version installation, an application software update, the unintended consequence of a new security patch, the unrecognized ramifications of a platform software (database, operating system, antivirus, etc.) update, the all too frequent unintended consequence of equipment configuration or maintenance, or a misstep in (or complete absence of) a proper change control process. The data center's hosting certification is completely irrelevant for the issues that most often cause SaaS downtime and problems.

Next: HubSpot CRM Integration Review >>

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HubSpot Review


HubSpot Review


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