Noor’s Hadi App Handles One Million Concurrent Players with Ease on AWS
Meeting Turkey’s demand for live trivia shows was a tall task for Noor, maker of Hadi, the country’s first live trivia mobile app. But by employing cloud-based services from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Noor optimizes costs and scales its app to handle up to 400,000 concurrent game requests and up to one million concurrent players per session. Since its establishment in 2018, the gaming app has reached 10 million subscribers, hosted several celebrity guests, and gained the attention of over 100 name-brand sponsors, including Pegasus Airlines, Ford Motor Company, PepsiCo, n11.com, Trendyol.com, and Hepsiburada.com.
Using AWS, we don’t lose time making an infrastructure to serve millions and be stable. We gain more time to develop and improve the game-play experience"
Experiencing Limitations on Premises
Emre Ulusoy, CEO of Noor, and Gökhan Örün, chief technology officer (CTO), first launched Hadi in 2018 under the mentorship and creative direction of Academy Award–winning producer Nick Reed. Today, the app hosts live 15-minute trivia games multiple times per day. During the games, players respond to questions in real time. The app began as a turn-based trivia game but shifted to live interactive game shows (IGSs) after the first year, when the popularity of trivia games started to move toward real-time experiences. Inspired by popular TV game shows like Wheel of Fortune, these IGSs combine luck and knowledge to give participants the chance to win instant prizes. “Increasing app usage with IGSs has been proven by the usage statistics, additional income from new game shows, and user reviews,” says Ulusoy. “With this improvement, Hadi became a 24/7 entertainment offering.”
In August 2020, Noor introduced its first IGS, Superwheel, and quickly found new success. In the initial four trials of Superwheel, Noor saw it played on Hadi 10 million times in 4 months. This was in addition to the live trivia games the app already offered 16 times a day. “This experience was to our advantage when it came to creating a new set of games. We have learned a lot about game flow,” says Örün.
The app reached eight million subscribers in 8 months and began bringing on celebrity guests such as Ceyda Düvenci, Özge Ulusoy, and Alex de Souza as live hosts, resulting in high traffic volumes as the content went viral. With as many as 400,000 game requests coming in at the same time, Noor needed more scalability than its current infrastructure could offer and a more simple-to-manage system.
Noor released the first version of Hadi while partnered with one of Turkey’s more prominent on-premises data centers, hosting the architecture on reserved virtual machines. However, the lack of automatic scalability meant that Noor had to overprovision so that it would have the resources it might need, which was not cost effective. “All instances were always open, ready to serve at maximum capacity,” says Örün. “It made our infrastructure expensive.” The manual scaling also required enlisting the help of the system operations team, resulting in human resources costs on top of high infrastructure costs.
Cutting Costs and Scaling to Handle One Million Players
Ulusoy and Örün were already well acquainted with using AWS through years of employing its services to launch other startups. The first of these was a location-based mobile social network launched in 2011 using Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). “As a full-stack developer, I was able to create and operate it quickly and easily without having to worry about high traffic and security,” Örün says.
Noor performed a lift and shift in 2020 to migrate Hadi to AWS and then used AWS services to modernize the application to better benefit from the ability to scale up and down as demand required. “We were able to migrate the entire architecture from its previous home on virtual machines in only 4 weeks without any system downtime, except during beta and test phases,” Örün says.
Using Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), Hadi supports hundreds of thousands of players with minimal latency, a quality that is imperative for a positive customer experience with a real-time virtual game show. Amazon EBS is a simple-to-use, high-performance block-storage service designed for use alongside Amazon EC2—which provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud—for both throughput and transaction-intensive workloads at any scale. Noor is currently using 40 types of Amazon EC2 instances, all of which scale automatically with minimal friction.
In the span of 4 weeks, two Noor developers were able to develop a turn-based interactive game infrastructure using AWS Lambda, a serverless compute service that enables users to run code without provisioning or managing servers, and Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), a fully managed messaging service for application-to-application and application-to-person communication. “Normally this process would have taken at least 3 months with two developers,” says Örün. Load tests revealed that Noor’s new cloud-based infrastructure will scale to handle up to one million concurrent players and 400,000 concurrent game requests without any latency issues.
In addition to gaining scalability and simplicity in developing and maintaining its architecture, Noor has also cut costs by 50 percent by using AWS: unlike under the previous infrastructure and payment agreement, the company doesn’t pay for unused resources. “Using AWS, we don’t lose time making an infrastructure to serve millions and be stable. We gain more time to develop and improve the game-play experience,” Örün says.
Innovating for the Future
As a startup, Noor must be able to implement new features quickly to stay ahead of competitors. Using AWS has helped the company gain the ease of management, cost optimization, and scalability to accomplish that. And by using AWS to manage its infrastructure, Noor frees its teams to innovate. Other tech companies and some of the top universities in Turkey have expressed admiration for what Noor has been able to accomplish using AWS services. “On AWS, we can execute things quickly, keeping us ahead in a very competitive industry,” says Ulusoy.
Moving forward, Noor is working on expanding Hadi into the Middle East and North Africa, and eventually it hopes to reach into Europe and the United States. It is also planning to release more live games, creating a new gaming market with turn-based IGSs. Noor expects this new market will grow worldwide.
“To be a future-ready company, you have to be fast and able to create what you dream,” says Ulusoy. “AWS gives us the speed and capability to create innovative, futuristic products and enables us to serve globally.”
Noor is the maker of Turkey’s first live trivia mobile app, Hadi, which hosts live trivia and interactive game shows. Established in 2018, the award-winning app has garnered 10 million subscribers and accommodates one million concurrent players.
Benefits of AWS
- Experienced zero downtime during migration
- Scales to handle up to 400,000 game requests
- Accommodates up to one million concurrent players
- Implements new features quickly
- Freed teams to focus on innovation
- Decreased costs by 50%
AWS Services Used
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.
Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) is an easy to use, high-performance, block-storage service designed for use with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for both throughput and transaction intensive workloads at any scale.
Amazon Simple Queue Service is a fully managed message queuing service for microservices, distributed systems, and serverless applications.
AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes.
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