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Games24x7 Enhances Security and Scalability Using AWS Enterprise Support

2021

Leveraging Cloud Expertise as Business Expands

Games24x7 is one of India’s leading gaming companies. Its mission is to provide users with a hyper-personalized gaming experience, leveraging data and machine learning (ML) to drive operations. The company has been using Amazon Web Services (AWS) and AWS Enterprise Support since 2018.

By relying on Enterprise Support for cloud expertise, Games24x7 ensures that its systems are cost-optimized, protected against cyber threats, and can scale seamlessly during gaming tournaments. The Enterprise Support team has also helped Games24x7 engineers transition to a containerized architecture using Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) for orchestration. The company’s dedicated AWS technical account manager continues to engage subject matter experts to organize in-depth training sessions on other AWS services that are key to Games24x7’s architecture.

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[AWS Enterprise Support] helped us establish parts of our pipeline in a much more meaningful, effective, and cost-efficient manner.”

Sandeep Agarwal
Chief Technology Officer, Games24x7

Ensuring Scalability and Security During Major Events

During major online tournaments, such as the one Games24x7 hosts for the Indian Premier League cricket games, traffic to the company’s systems can spike by 600 percent. The Enterprise Support team assesses Games24x7’s architecture for scalability and operational readiness as part of the AWS Infrastructure Event Management (AWS IEM) program prior to each event. To date, Games24x7 hasn’t experienced any outages during tournaments.
 
AWS also helps the company identify and mitigate security risks, conducting distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) drills before big tournament days. “Even when we’re focused on other priorities, our technical account manager constantly follows up with us to carry out security reviews to ensure we’re prepared to handle the events that are important for our business. The level of ownership is phenomenal,” says Sandeep Agarwal, chief technology officer at Games24x7.

Real-Time Alerts for Vulnerabilities and Network Latency

Outside of tournaments and seasonal usage peaks, the Enterprise Support team proactively reviews Games24x7’s architecture to improve its security and availability baseline. Hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, Agarwal relates, but with the help of Enterprise Support, Games24x7 can remain one step ahead. The Enterprise Support team was particularly helpful in setting up AWS Web Application Firewall (AWS WAF) in 2020 so Games24x7 receives real-time alerts regarding potential exploits of vulnerabilities. This proved critical in April 2020, when traffic to the company’s Rummy platform doubled during lockdown in India and threat vectors also multiplied.

Because the games that Games24x7 publishes are latency sensitive, the AWS technical account manager proactively alerts the company about network issues in the region. This helps Games24x7 create a recovery plan to avoid outages and reroute network traffic to other AWS Availability Zones.
 

Adopting a “Containers-Plus-Spot” Strategy to Boost Efficiency

Games24x7 containerized its architecture in 2020. After the containerization, the company turned to Enterprise Support to implement Amazon EKS as a fully managed tool to orchestrate its microservices. The Enterprise Support team was available 24/7 and imparted a level of knowledge that Agarwal believes would be difficult to obtain via online documentation or tutorials. Enterprise Support was instrumental in setting up the ideal costing structure for Games24x7’s containers and its DevOps pipeline that supports Amazon EKS, resulting in maximum efficiency across container nodes.

One recommended measure related to containerization was to increase the adoption of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Spot Instances for Amazon EKS workloads. Games24x7 engineers were already using Spot Instances, but utilization was low as they were unsure how best to deploy a “spot strategy” to save costs while ensuring uptime. “The Enterprise Support team gave us the confidence to put our entire microservices environment on Spot Instances,” Agarwal says. “Someone from the Enterprise Support team told me that the more costs they save for their customers, the more rave reviews they get from their superiors. I appreciate this aspect of the AWS culture, one that rewards people based on the costs they save for their customers. It’s not often you find businesses that operate this way.”

Reducing Monthly Costs through Improved Resource Utilization

Each month, Games24x7 receives a report detailing its AWS cost structure, including security updates. Enterprise Support uses this data to make recommendations on how the company can improve resource utilization to lower costs. A common means of optimization requires switching instance types to find the right balance for compute versus memory infrastructure demands. For the 12-month period ending March 2021, Games24x7 saved $1.67 million with the help of Enterprise Support.

In one example, Games24x7 halved the cost of running its business intelligence and analytics workloads by switching to AWS Graviton2 processors. The time required for analytics processing was equal to, or often faster, than the time previously taken using another brand of processor. In a similar vein, Enterprise Support worked closely with Games24x7 engineers to upgrade from gp2 to gp3 general purpose storage volumes on Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), which resulted in a 20 percent cost saving.
 

Conducting AWS Service–Specific Campaigns

Over the years, Enterprise Support has organized several service-specific education campaigns to help Games24x7 engineers become more proficient on AWS. “The Enterprise Support team has worked feverishly over the last couple of years to provide guidance and organized sessions and workshops for all the AWS services we consume. They’ve helped us establish parts of our pipeline in a much more meaningful, effective, and cost-efficient manner,” Agarwal says.

The most recent campaign revolved around Amazon SageMaker. Games24x7 has ramped up its utilization of Amazon SageMaker as its ML pipeline matures, intending to become a model-driven rather than data-driven enterprise. Over a 3–4 week period, Games24x7 engineers worked closely with Enterprise Support to migrate workflows from the existing ML pipeline to Amazon SageMaker. Members of the Enterprise Support team attended the company’s daily stand-up meetings to understand the engineers’ concerns firsthand and collaborate on solutions to new challenges.

Agarwal emphasizes the proactive, collaborative approach that characterizes Games24x7’s engagement with Enterprise Support. “They continue to bring up new ideas and education campaigns without us even asking,” he explains. “All of the work we’ve done to date has led to increased observability in our system, auto-scalability, and seamless infrastructure deployment.”
 

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About Games24x7

Games24x7 is India’s largest online gaming company in terms of revenue and product portfolio. Its RummyCircle tournaments, which pay out cash prizes, attract up to 100,000 players per tournament. Games24x7 is currently expanding its business abroad.

Benefits of AWS

  • Saves $1.67M in annual operating costs
  • Receives real-time security alerts to mitigate threats
  • Scales architecture 600% with no downtime
  • Ensures low latency by redirecting traffic during network issues
  • Receives proactive, ongoing education on AWS services
  • Saves time on migration to a fully containerized architecture
  • Accelerates processing time while reducing costs
     

AWS Services Used

AWS Enterprise Support

AWS Enterprise Support provides you with concierge-like service where the main focus is helping you achieve your outcomes and find success in the cloud.

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AWS Web Application Firewall

AWS WAF is a web application firewall that helps protect your web applications or APIs against common web exploits and bots that may affect availability, compromise security, or consume excessive resources.

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AWS Graviton2 processors

AWS Graviton processors are custom built by Amazon Web Services using 64-bit Arm Neoverse cores to deliver the best price performance for your cloud workloads running in Amazon EC2.

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Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) gives you the flexibility to start, run, and scale Kubernetes applications in the AWS Cloud or on-premises.

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