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Various businesses find the solutions within the Elixir ecosystem and build highly available and scalable applications. 

In our previous blog post, we discussed 13 startups with Elixir in their tech stack. And here, we want to highlight seven of the most well-known and well-established companies that use Elixir software.

Let's explore brief case studies and gain insights into the challenges, successes, and best practices embraced by leading companies.

Discord: Erlang VM's power through a user-friendly language

Since launching in 2015, Discord has rapidly become a top-tier communication and collaboration tool. It’s growing fast: the platform counts more than 196M monthly active users in 2023.

While it was typically associated with gamers, today, users create Discord communities focused on interests beyond gaming, such as media, sports, investing, and more.

Many companies join Discord to facilitate seamless communication among team members and clients 💬 It enables businesses to engage with customers or users more interactively and informally. Also, Discord can serve as a marketing tool that allows creating communities around their products or services.

As CNBC put it, if Slack is a conference room, Discord is a bar. It offers more customization, it has no messaging limits, and its free version provides access to numerous communities. 

Elixir development and testing at Discord
Discord loves Elixir! Image source: Elixir.com

Discord has been an early adopter of Elixir and a significant contributor to Elixir's popularity. It proved to be the perfect choice for a highly concurrent, real-time system handling millions of users and events every second.

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The company continues to use Elixir and shares the development experience in the blog.

For example, their chat software, primarily developed in Elixir, undergoes regular enhancements and deployments. Another example: a few years ago, Discord used Rust to solve the problem of immutable data structures in Elixir. Consequently, this solution enabled Discord to scale up to 11 million concurrent users (more tech details are available on GitHub).

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Spotify: dealing with heavy traffic efficiently

Spotify

Another big player, Spotify, has leveraged Elixir with a purpose similar to Discord's use case. The goal was to optimize its high-traffic system and empower some business processes with the appropriate technology solution.

Founded in 2006 and launched two years later, Spotify experiences ever-rising traffic, handling 551M monthly active users as of Q2 2023. The platform provides different services for music and podcast enthusiasts and offers several extra options for artists and content creators, such as advertising and metrics. All this demanded the ability to handle thousands of concurrent requests every second. 

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Elixir helped the team to break through some issues and deal with a ‘JVM-built backend service handling thousands of requests per second.’

It was like this: in 2021, Spotify was on the verge of releasing a new product – an ad platform for artists to promote their works. The team realized the need to develop an internal app to manage the new service. Finally, they chose to try Phoenix LiveView as a proof-of-concept.

According to Joel Camp, Phoenix LiveView’s programming model enabled the team to build the app in half the time and with half the team involved, compared to a single-page app with a JSON API backend.

Pepsi Co: marketing intelligence with Elixir apps

PepsiCo

PepsiCo is one of the largest food and beverage companies, serving numerous countries and territories worldwide. Its success owes a lot to Elixir and Phoenix framework, but first things first.

A leading company in the CPG segment, PepsiCo is not limited to just sales in groceries worldwide. The company engages in various eCommerce and marketing activities to promote its products.

The company's first Elixir project and harbinger of future Elixir software development was started in 2016. Initially, this app provided workflow automation for managing search marketing operations. 

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Now, this Elixir app plays a crucial role in a data pipeline, providing sales and marketing teams with an advanced toolset. Depending on data characteristics, it preprocesses and stores data in two databases – Apache Druid and PostgreSQL. A Phoenix app delivers this data to the teams and connects with third-party APIs.

Elixir facilitates fast and robust user interactions, allowing the development team to focus on feature delivery. It has become an integral part of PepsiCo's tech stack. Furthermore, some parts of the company’s infrastructure were rewritten in Elixir for better efficiency.

PepsiCo is also a sponsor of the Erlang Ecosystem Foundation, which supports ‘the next generation of advanced, reliable, real-time apps.’

Toyota Connected: bringing Elixir to automotive

Toyota

Toyota Connected, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, is one of the early Elixir adopters in the automotive world. Dedicated to advancing vehicle technologies, this company enhances the in-vehicle experience by integrating data analytics, cloud computing, and IoT technologies within one intelligent ecosystem ⚙️

All this was implemented in the Mobility Services Platform (MSPF). This platform encompasses various connected services, empowering features like remote vehicle monitoring, predictive maintenance, personalized driving experiences, and safety features. It streamlines the collection and analysis of data from the vehicles to provide insights into driving habits and performance. Users can also leverage Toyota Connected API to create integrations, enabling third parties to leverage the data.

Toyota Post

Through Toyota Connected services, drivers stay connected to their vehicles via mobile apps. For example, they can remotely start the engine or unlock doors. This functionality implied managing millions of connected vehicles sending events to the cloud, and Elixir became a fitting choice for these requirements.

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Pinterest: fewer servers, less code, more efficiency and growth

Pinterest

Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool that allows users to create virtual pinboards and organize their content. It is a kind of online hub where people can discover and save ideas for different topics such as recipes, home decor, or travel.

In April 2023, Pinterest had 463M monthly active users, so it can be considered one of the world’s most active social media platforms. And its growth is directly related to the adoption of Elixir. Built on the Erlang VM, this programming language is great for handling growing audience sizes without extra costs.

One of the Pinterest systems that initially operated on 200 (!) Python servers was later optimized to run on just four Elixir servers. This tech solution saved Pinterest over $2M per year in server costs.

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A new at that time programming language helped the company enhance the performance of its notification system. Elixir's concurrency model and fault tolerance proved invaluable in handling the high volume of real-time updates and notifications that Pinterest users receive.

Square Enix: handling high concurrency

Square Enix

Twenty years ago, Square and Enix teamed up to create an RPG powerhouse. Today, many of us know Square Enix thanks to famous titles such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest 🎮

It is another adopter of Elixir, probably the most well-known in the game and entertainment industry. Elixir empowers player-related Square Enix services in a diverse and dynamic environment, particularly managing platform-wide authentication for all games.

Final Fantasy
One of the latest Square Enix game realeses

Square Enix leverages this programming language for single sign-on that allows players to use one account across multiple websites and games. It links users to their identities on other platforms and integrates with internal services and data sources.

So, if you want to handle a lot of users concurrently, Elixir is an excellent choice, providing you with tools to manage concurrency easier than many other technologies.

Sketch: collaborative design process with Elixir

Sketch

Sketch is a popular design software primarily used by designers and professionals for UI and UX design. The platform features a native Mac app and also provides browser-based tools.

Sketch enables users to create high-fidelity digital designs and enjoy real-time collaboration options. The platform was developed by the Dutch company Sketch B.V and won an Apple Design Award in 2012 🎉

Users love Sketch for its rich set of libraries, compatibility with industry tools, and plugins extending its functionality. Designers can use these plugins for prototyping, exporting assets, or integrating with other tools.

The platform offers an experience that feels ‘right at home’ on macOS, but Sketch doesn’t limit users by this. It also provides a web application accessible on any browser. This app enables users to inspect designs, export assets, comment with annotations, and access other Sketch options.

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At Sketch, Elixir with Phoenix is the backbone of the backend infrastructure. You can find more details on the GitHub page. Also, the company’s tech stack includes GraphQL, PostgreSQL, and AWS services.

Quoting Dave Thomas, ‘as computer power becomes ambient, we’ll need technologies that let us deal with this dynamic, long-running, and fault-resistant world.’  And the special place in this mission is reserved for Elixir. 

Elixir is taking the world by storm; all kinds of companies adopt this programming language into their tech stack. The Elixir ecosystem nicely complements the Erlang one: it celebrates the achievements of its predecessor and brings in a new advanced toolset. 

Join the Freshcode community and continue exploring Elixir projects and best practices for creating highly scalable, concurrent apps. Subscribe to our blog for more success stories about startups and leading companies worldwide.

Schedule a free 1:1 consultation with the Freshcode business development manager to discuss your Elixir project and our solutions.

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