I had considered subtracting bid amounts from the budget, but rejected it for several reasons, all of which are problematic. First, if 36 boxes bid simultaneously, we could overshoot our budget unless we have boxes "lock" the bid amount, but that changes us from parallel to serial bidding and increases response time to the point where bids that should have been one would be lost.
Serial bidding might be appropriate as we get close to the budget, but that raises another issue: the box that receives the notification that we lost is usually not the box that made the corresponding bid. Because we don't receive the bid amount in the loss notification, we'd have to search all 36 boxes to find out who bid what (or tremendously complicate our Redis setup by trying to store huge amounts of bid information in Redis and we're expecting our volume of data to increase by a couple of orders of magnitude).
As for your suggestion of me being overly optimistic, that might be the case, but the bid amounts are (fortunately) small fractions of the budget, so it won't be catastrophic until we scale up.
Riak is not an option because the response times on Riak are slow enough that we'll lose bids we should have one (though we're probably going to put Redis in front of Riak). I don't know about membase.
We're probably going to go with a strategy of allocating separate budgets to separate boxes. It's more complicated, but it seems much safer. We lose a lot of bidding capacity for individual campaigns, but for many campaigns, I think it's doable.
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