FlexiSAF runs two main enterprise web applications on Payara Server, SAF School Management Software (SAFSMS) and SAF Tertiary Information Management System (SAFTIMS), with a user base of over one million across the two platforms. They deploy their platforms as cloud services in a multi-tenant architecture, maintaining a single application version deployed on a cluster of Amazon AWS EC2 instances running Payara Server behind a load balancer in an autoscaling group.


Before using the Payara Platform, FlexiSAF ran GlassFish 2 and later migrated to GlassFish 3. FlexiSAF was growing quickly and struggled to scale their application due to increased traffic. Their developers were spending too much time trying to get their application server to work with the increased traffic and not enough time developing the features of their applications, so they decided to look at other options.

After doing some research, FlexiSAF tried WildFly and TomCat, but discovered Payara Server Enterprise was the best option due to the level of professional support included and because Payara Server is similar to GlassFish, which made it an easy migration process.

Before migrating to Payara Server, FlexiSAF scaled their application on multiple Amazon instances. Their biggest challenge was JPA data caching. When FlexiSAF scaled, the cache didn’t distribute to all instances. When a customer logged into ‘instance A’ they might be distributed to ‘instance B’, but the application wasn’t aware of it. FlexiSAF needed a distributed caching system to solve the JPA cache issue and resolve data from user sessions. Before migrating to Payara Server, none of the other application servers they tried could solve the cache problem, and the huge instances FlexiSAF launched were very expensive.


Payara Server Enterprise provides a distributed caching system with the Data Grid feature. Instead of scaling to two very large, expensive instances, FlexiSAF uses the Payara Server Data Grid which provides a greater number of instances that are smaller in size, helping FlexiSAF reduce expenses.

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