Node.js is a lot younger than nearly all of its competitors, but in these last few years it seems to have been maturing at an impressive rate. A huge number of large enterprises have incorporated Node.js into their stack in some way or another. In this post I want to take a very quick look at just a handful of the companies that have used Node.js in production.
After a dangerous spacesuit malfunction during a spacewalk in 2013 where water began leaking into Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano’s helmet, NASA halted all non-emergency spacewalks. During this time, NASA investigated the cause of the defect and found that all possible relevant data about the spacesuit and the situation was spread across many locations. NASA has traditionally “siloed” data into individual missions. The task of collecting all of the data needed for the investigation became a problem all of its own.
Collin Estes, the Director of Software Engineering at MRI Technologies, was tasked with creating a solution. Using Node.js, he and his team developed a full data system of the entire lifecycle of spacesuits. Estes said “My model centered around creating an API-driven Node.js enterprise architecture.” NASA’s ultimate goal is to replace their legacy Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server databases completely by continuing to build Node.js applications that allow the migration of and querying of the data.
When Node.js was still relatively new, Walmart was among the first huge companies to take the risk of using it to power one of their important projects. In a bid to keep up with Amazon in the online retail space, Walmart rebuilt their website from the ground up. They chose Node.js to handle the back end and respond to their peak 20,000 requests per second.
Since inviting retail partners and smaller vendors to sell their products on Walmart’s site last year, Walmart has added a CMS system where up to 30 concurrent users could be submitting products to be displayed and sold on the site. This data gets handled by an asynchronous Node.js layer. Walmart’s long term goal is to overtake Amazon and become the world’s foremost online retailer.
Uber is debatably the most ambitious startup to come out of Silicon Valley in the last 10 years. Uber’s goal is to make transportation as commonplace and reliable as running water, and Node.js is a primary tool for Uber in pursuing that goal. One of the biggest draws for Uber was the open source community surrounding Node.js. Uber’s Senior Staff Engineer Matt Ranney has said “Honestly the hardest part, I think, is not having to build your own stuff, it’s that you just have to find your way through the maze of different solutions someone else has made.” If there’s going to be a problem, that’s a pretty good one to have. Uber’s so dedicated to Node.js and open source, that they have an independent GitHub page just for sharing Node.js software made at Uber.
Capital One is already a dominant player in the consumer financial sector, but they seem to always be looking to stay ahead when it comes to the online and mobile services they offer. Capital One has come to embrace open source software for new projects, and in many ways they also behave as a startup; iterating quickly and constantly testing new ideas. This is largely due to the encouragement from leadership, but it is also partly thanks to Node.js and the open source community which allows for a significantly shorter development cycle.
A lot of the code at Capital One is Java code, and they don’t intend to redo everything in Node.js, However; Capital One Technology Fellow Azat Mardan has said “But with new projects, we are using Node.js. At this point, it is hard to find a business unit that is not using Node.js.” At Capital One, Node.js has allowed for smaller teams, improved development speed, and much more performant and cost effective software.
Sources for this post can be found here: https://nodejs.org/en/foundation/case-studies/