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Social Quantum Finds AWS a Game Changer

2020

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By moving the Content Delivery Network to AWS, we reduced those costs by 80 percent. That was our first major move to AWS and clearly it was a good one.”

Ivan Kondratev
CIO, Social Quantum

Gamers understand that you need to think and move fast to reach the next level; the same applies to game developers. Social Quantum is a leading casual game publishers in Russia and Eastern Europe. In 2013, its game Megapolis was a top 10 grossing app on both iOS and Android platforms. To stay relevant to users, Social Quantum uses analytics and user feedback to update games. The company recognized that being quick to market with new games and quick with updates was crucial to continued growth—but its legacy infrastructure was holding it back.

Going Cloud Is A Gamechanger

Initially, Social Quantum developed its games using server colocation, with data centers in the Netherlands and Russia. As the company grew, this model required increasing expenditure on maintenance and more frequent reliability issues. “We realized we were spending a lot of time supporting our infrastructure, even our colocation, because we treated it like our on-premises system. We tracked our time and our costs and found we were spending a lot of time and money on that. There was no business upside to that,” said Ivan Kondratev, CIO at Social Quantum. 

For casual and hyper-casual games, a company must get pilots to market quickly, otherwise it will lose users. When the firm was considering the move to AWS, it experienced several major outages with its own kit. If they could not keep established games running reliably, the ability to develop and iterate on new games to grow the business would be at risk. “In 2019 we changed our DevOps team and Boris [Markov, DevOps Lead] wanted to revamp our Content Delivery Network (CDN). While our legacy provider wouldn’t offer a better rate, moving the CDN to AWS allowed us to reduce those costs by 80 percent. That was our first major move with AWS and clearly it was a good one,” recalled Kondratev. 

Markov had worked with AWS before and was a strong advocate of serverless computing and managed services. Social Quantum was using on-premises and virtual machines to develop games and the processes were slow to update. Using AWS Managed Services and AWS Serverless wherever it made sense allowed the company to reduce manual work and infrastructure maintenance. AWS Fargate allows Social Quantum to operate serverless using Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) containers and Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) provides secure, reliable storage. It is now able to push out a dozen updates a day without any problem. The company also has much better insight into where its resources—technology, staff, and money—are going and can take action to improve resource allocation.

A Measured Migration

This year, Social Quantum has migrated—with zero downtime—Wild West: New Frontier, its most successful game, to AWS. While the company still has its Netherlands server colocation, it plans to go all-in and migrate all of its operations to AWS. It’s well on its way, having spun-down 50 of the 300 servers—counting colocation and on-premises—it was operating. Once the company has mapped out all of the dependencies in its legacy systems, it can make the changes without breaking any dependencies in the system. Training from AWS also helped staff get the most from their new tools.

A New Game in Town

Social Quantum also uses AWS to give it more business insights. It currently uses Amazon CloudWatch dashboards to monitor and observe game sessions and the instance status. The company also has its own system for analyzing user behavior, which is currently being transformed for migration to the cloud. 

Once migrated, Social Quantum will look at migrating to Amazon Redshift and using Amazon Kinesis for data analytics, said Markov. Social Quantum’s experience with AWS has started strong and continues to deliver benefits. Markov is impressed with the services, but also with the service. “It’s a real surprise that they’re really willing to help us reduce our spend. They highlight all the ways we could reduce our costs. They’ve helped us see ways to improve security and increase availability as well. I think it’s pretty cool,” he says.


About Social Quantum

Social Quantum is a developer of casual and mobile games with more than 300 staff in Russia, Ukraine, and Ireland and among the 10 largest game publishers in Russia and Eastern Europe. Social Quantum uses analytics and user feedback to update games.

Benefits of AWS

  • Faster development and deployment times
  • More frequent game updates
  • Reduced CDN costs
  • Reduced infrastructure maintenance time
  • Improved reliability

AWS Services Used

Amazon Elastic Container Service

Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) is a fully managed container orchestration service.

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Amazon CloudFront

Amazon CloudFront is a fast content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency, high transfer speeds, all within a developer-friendly environment.

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Amazon CloudWatch

Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring and observability service built for DevOps engineers, developers, site reliability engineers (SREs), and IT managers. 

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Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL has become the preferred open source relational database for many enterprise developers and start-ups, powering leading business and mobile applications. 

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