SEDNA on a Plane - Searching 10 million emails at 30,000 ft


Author: Dan James
Information Systems Product Manager at SEDNA

On a recent customer visit, I was interviewing some of our newer users on their experiences with SEDNA when I heard my favourite user quote of all time:

“SEDNA is faster on an airplane, than [our legacy email client] is in the office.”

One of SEDNA’s core tenets is how we’re able to deliver lightning fast search across all of a customer’s emails - helping to find key conversations faster so people can make important decisions more confidently - even in challenging conditions.

So when I found myself on an international flight, I decided to run some tests and measure how well SEDNA performs in a low-bandwidth environment. Because SEDNA is a cloud-based solution and the search capabilities are offloaded to the server side, this was an ideal situation to adversely test SEDNA’s performance.

As a baseline, I logged into a few different websites to get a handle on how my connection speed was performing. While I did three loads of each page to establish an average speed, I stopped measuring sites when the content for the first page had loaded. I found completely loading the webpage, including all of the adtech, took considerably longer. While this was not strictly scientific, it was a good indicator of the constraints imposed by airline wifi.

  • Google homepage: 8 seconds to load

  • Google’s speed test widget: 54 seconds to load

  • 26 seconds to load

  • 17 seconds to load

  • Gmail Inbox: 12 seconds to load

  • SEDNA’s inbox: 18 seconds to load

SEDNA’S Search Performance


The next test was to see how fast the search performed within SEDNA once it loaded. Here are the conditions I tested:

  • Searching across more than 10 million emails

  • Searching for single keywords in the entire body and subjects of those messages

  • Searching different keywords every time, to ensure results were not cached

  • Conducting 10 different searches

The searches themselves all took between 1 to 3 seconds with another 1 to 2 seconds to download the content associated with the search results. The random keywords generated results ranging from 6 emails to 100,000 emails with no correlation in response time.

This shows that work doesn’t have to be anchored to a desk - a salesperson can find an executed contract, an auditor can look across years of mail, an executive can find a deck from last year - all in seconds, despite terrible connectivity when working from a plane.

And as a slight bonus, I discovered another huge time saver in low-bandwidth environments. The “Add From SEDNA” feature which allows you to add attachments from other emails sent or received from SEDNA performs incredibly well.  Because the feature works on the server side, I was able to draft a new message and attach a 10mb excel file to it instantly - no need to download or upload the file to send it to a new recipient.

SEDNA shows that communication should be great, even when your connection isn’t.