Papaya Mobile is an international mobile social network platform that creates social networking and games for mobile devices. With mobile phones and devices, users can play games, meet people in chat rooms, instant message other users, blog, and share pictures with friends. This is all done instantly and inexpensively, keeping users up-to-date with the latest news from their friends.

Papaya Mobile was founded by two friends, Si Shen, Co-Founder and CEO, and Qian Wenjie, Co-Founder and CTO, who joined forces to turn their mobile gaming passion into a business. With the research and development center based in Beijing, China, the business development center in San Francisco, California, and its 8 million users located around the world, the company sustains a global presence in the social networking/gaming market.


Figure 1: Example of a Papaya Mobile game

When Papaya first launched, the company used physical servers and a collocation rack service near San Francisco. However, when the company eventually outgrew this infrastructure, it became necessary to search for other alternatives. After researching several options, Papaya Mobile determined that Amazon Web Services (AWS) offered the best solution. The company switched to AWS because of its excellent reputation in the industry and the flexibility that it provided.

Papaya Mobile incorporated Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) as the underlying virtual hardware architecture plus Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for storing images. The company also uses Amazon Elastic IP Services. (See the architecture diagram below for more details.)

For the remaining components of the solution equation, Papaya uses Python as the primary programming language for building the platform and Boto, a third-party party API library, to manage instances by programs. The company is presently running 100 percent of its U.S. service on the AWS configuration.


Figure 2: Papaya Mobile Architecure Diagram

According to Papaya's leadership, switching to AWS proved to be a wise decision because of the enormous savings involved in moving from physical servers to a cloud solution. Wenjie says, “We save hundreds of hours of server management time. After using AWS, we don’t need to send people to data centers every month, which significantly reduces overhead." Personnel can now devote more time to product development.

Wenjie further explains why AWS is such a good fit for Papaya Mobile: "With our research and development center in China and our users primarily in the US, AWS helps us manage our servers remotely with a simple API call and an easy-to-use, console user interface (UI). It is much more flexible than the traditional, physical data center. The flexibility offered by automatic scaling is the feature we value the most. It frees us to focus more on improving our product.”

Going forward, Papaya Mobile anticipates using Elastic Load Balancing for automatic distribution of incoming traffic across Amazon EC2 instances to further ensure that the company’s operations continue to run reliably, efficiently, and affordably.

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