Lightning eMotors Managing 100% y/y Data Growth With Tessell

Lightning Insights application tracks up to 156 data points per second in real-time, including vehicle location, state of charge, energy usage, efficiency, and vehicle health. The integrated software, running on Tessell's managed database service provides fleet operators with real-time data for in-use vehicles and actionable Lightning Energy charging statistics. The Lightning Insights application is core the Lightning eMotor's data strategy, providing business insight, differentiation and competitive advantage.

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Lightning eMotors Managing 100% y/y Data Growth With Tessell


Real-Time Fleet Monitoring 1,000+ Vehicles.


Data Loss Architecture with 15 Day Point-in-Time Recovery

11 TB

IoT Dataset Growing @ 100% y/y

Checkout the Customer Story from Tessell – Lightning eMotors Managing 100% y/y Data Growth With Tessell tessell

When we evaluated the Tessell solution, we were extremely impressed with the resiliency and scalability it offered and Tessell’s vision, which aligns with our own commitment to relentless innovation. The robust solution has allowed us to scale and support our telematics capabilities quickly and affordably to meet the growing information needs of our customers. We’re proud to be the first U.S.-based Tessell customer.

Tim Reeser
CEO, Lightning eMotors

The Company

Lightning eMotors has been providing specialized and sustainable fleet solutions since 2009, deploying complete zero-emission-vehicle (ZEV) solutions for commercial fleets since 2018 – including Class 3 cargo and passenger vans, ambulances, shuttle buses, school buses, work trucks, city buses, and motor coaches. The Lightning eMotors team designs, engineers, customizes, and manufactures zero-emission vehicles. As part of this work, Lightning eMotors' big data strategy leverages vehicle telemetry data to understand the weather and terrain impact on vehicle battery efficiency, optimal routing, maintenance and general feet management.

The Challenge

In September 2022, a fire broke out in a parking lot adjacent to Lightning's data center facility. While the fire was extinguished without impacting Lightning building, just the threat caused the firm to fast-track migration to the cloud for key on-premises systems. A top priority was migrating the MySQL database that stored valuable analytics information dating back several years. If lost due to a disaster, the result would have a significant business impact on both the company and its customers. Migrating this data to the cloud, though, encompassed a number of challenges:

One-time migration of a huge database

The 5.7 version of the MySQL database was approaching end-of-life. To move to the cloud and keep query performance time in check, there was a need to migrate and then upgrade a huge database that was about 5 TB in size.

Lack of skills to manage and maintain databases

For a small in-house IT team, it was becoming painful to maintain a database requiring specific skills and resources. The fire scare made it clear to the team that they needed to off-load their database to a DBaaS provider that could perform the proactive maintenance necessary to keep their database online 24/7 all 365 days a year.

Realtime reporting that scales as they add more vehicles and customers

Lightning did not believe their existing architecture would get them to real-time reporting with 1,000s of vehicles on the road and dozens of customers needing access to this data. They required a partner who could manage their database with not only the resilience and high performance required by a rapidly growing database environment, but also with the data masking, security, policy-driven self-service access, and reporting necessary to provide their customers with best-in-class analytics.

The Solution

Lightning eMotors was impressed not only by the exceptionally high performance of Tessell but also with the many new capabilities enabled at a significantly lower cost, instance-based pricing than the existing DBaaS solutions they were considering. Lightning conducted a short POC with Tessell, that quickly proved the operational value Tessell’s DBaaS platform:

Live Migration

Lightning eMotors' data infrastructure team helped in establishing a dedicated VPN tunnel between their on-premise database and the database on Tessell. An Amazon DMS instance was created with 16 parallel connections as that was the maximum load that both the database on AWS and the network pipe could handle.

Intuitive self-service onboarding

Tessell created an account for them on AWS, and the Lightning eMotors IT team was able to try out the intuitive Tessell service without any guidance. The Lightning account owner invited fellow team members with appropriate personas—an administrator, an Administrator, and a couple of Data Owners, who all explored the GUI with the help of self-service guided tours. Payment with a credit card enabled the DBA to use the service on his own and create the prod database on a 16 vCPU high-performance compute machine.

Daily data backups for disaster recovery

Tessell enabled automated, continuous snapshots so that the LeM team could roll back to any transaction that took place in the previous 15 days. Consequently, the LeM team could sleep without fear of data loss. The business could focus exclusively on outcomes with no distracting concerns about the vulnerability of its mission-critical data due to a catastrophic failure.

Data management apps mitigating the skills gap on the team

The Lightning eMotors team can now seamlessly clone, import, or download data in any format from their MySQL database. And they can use policy-driven and secure sharing of enterprise data with their customers for their own use.

"Lowering commercial fleet operating costs by transforming their conventional vehicles into zero-emission machines requires a full suite of control software, telematics, and analytics. Tessell is playing a key role by managing our databases with better performance, security, data protection, reporting, and multi-cloud agility than prevailing alternatives - while also reducing our cost."
Shawn Salisbury, Data Analyst/Engineer