How have you incorporated Amazon Web Services as part of your architecture? What services are you using and how?
We use Amazon Web Services (AWS), including Amazon EC2, Amazon EBS, and Amazon S3 to run the production services for all four of our games. We also use Amazon EMR for our data analytics.
Our platform is built on a diversified portfolio of technologies: Our technology stack includes .NET, Java, PHP, Python, NodeJS, Redis, Memcache, MySQL, and RabbitMQ. All of these tools can be easily deployed on Amazon EC2, and furthermore, AWS actively maintains specific guides and best practices to promote high quality on the platform.
Why did you decide to use AWS?
In 2009, our audience grew quickly and we needed the ability to scale our architecture; we chose to migrate from a dedicated hosting solution to AWS. At the time, AWS was still fairly young, but we benefited from the progress of the product over time.
The marketing activities around our games generate highly variable traffic and server loads, and we run many social and viral animations within our games. For example, we offer a popular collaborative game where multiple players must help each other hunt a mammoth by throwing koalas at it. The game can generate load spikes x100 over a few minutes. For those cases, the elasticity of AWS helps immensely.
How has AWS helped your business?
AWS was very helpful in order to scale our business and make our infrastructure fit the requirements of social gaming:
Can you share any metrics on your usage of AWS to date?
We run about 230 Amazon EC2 instances and serve an average of 2.8 millions fans of our games. We also run our analytics in AWS and continuously analyze about 1TB of data per month that is being produced.
Have you learned any valuable lessons during this development process that you’d like to pass on to other developers?
AWS offers a unique opportunity to completely transform your perspective regarding computing resources. It's a mindset shift, like moving from a workshop to a factory. There are some important considerations that must be made:
But the sheer power it offers makes it all worthwhile.
Do you have any future plans to incorporate other AWS solutions?
In order to build our games we always considered the best-of-breed open source technologies and assembled it in our games. These efforts require a vast amount of packaging and integration in order to provide scaling and high availability. Today with Amazon RDS, Amazon ElasticCache and Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon is providing all these technologies as a service, and can take care of scaling and high availability for us. We are considering moving on these to further reduce our operations costs.
To learn more, visit http://www.iscoolentertainment.com/ .
Added May 29, 2012