Lex Machina | A Crunchy Case Study

Lex Machina Improves Productivity with a Move to Fully Managed Postgres

on database engineering
↓ time
in time to deploy new features
10% reduction

Lex Machina was self-managing Postgres and in need of an easier way to manage databases. By moving to Crunchy Bridge, they’re saving several weeks of engineering time a year and have simplified many of their database processes.

Is Self Hosting Postgres the best idea?

Lex Machina®, a LexisNexis company®, provides Legal Analytics® to companies and law firms, enabling them to craft successful litigation strategies, win cases, and close business. Lex Machina ingests and processes millions of records from courts across the country on a daily basis and they have a robust set of data procedures, all backed by a large Postgres database cluster.

Last year, Lex Machina was struggling with some of their Postgres database management. Their product had grown to a notable size and they had several databases to manage for development, staging, API access and various customer needs. Their databases were sometimes silently failing. Their engineering team was spending weeks and months on scripting operations.

Lex Machina started looking for a new way to manage their database so they started looking at different options for management. They were interested in Crunchy Postgres for Kubernetes, and liked that it had several Postgres features packaged with it. When they started talking to Crunchy about their needs, we also showed them a fully managed option, with Crunchy Bridge.

It took us about 6 months to get things working the way we wanted. We realized it would be more expensive to pay our engineers to spend months figuring out something on Postgres than to have a managed service provider.

Jesse CarverLead API Engineer at Lex Machina

Crunchy Data vs Google Cloud SQL

Lex Machina reviewed several options with their database and came to the conclusion that the primary expense in the database is storage. So moving to managed Postgres would be a small increase, but only a fraction of the overall total.

Lex Machina reviewed Google’s fully managed Postgres option, Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL.

We evaluated Cloud SQL, but in our testing we found a lot of things we still had to manage ourselves. Crunchy Bridge had a lot more features to help us manage our databases, backups, forks, and replicas.

Jesse CarverLead API Engineer at Lex Machina

Lex Machina chose to work with Crunchy Bridge and are really happy with the results. They’ve found they are saving a lot of engineering time by moving to fully managed Postgres. Not only that, but they are able to ship features faster.

We are focused on our core legal analytics business by building new features for our clients as fast as possible. The use of Crunchy Bridge is helping support this endeavor by saving us several weeks of FTE and enabling us to deploy new features 10% faster than before.

Gavin CarothersDirector Software Engineering at Lex Machina

Working with Crunchy Bridge’s Developer Tools

Most of the things Lex Machina does with their databases now is totally scripted using the API. Jesse said “The docs are really good.” Jesse went on to say he loves working with our CLI tool, “I love that things autocomplete for me.“

Lex Machina has adopted Tailscale across their developer team and are loving the convenience and security it offers. Lex Machina uses Tailscale as a networking / VPN solution for individual database access. It’s been easily added to their existing database provisioning and testing pipeline and the Crunchy Bridge API tools. Jesse noted that everything was in source control and so much easier to work with for everyone on the team.