If we said that AbZorba Games is one of the biggest success stories of the Greek startup scene it would be true — but also an understatement. AbZorba Games, a popular maker of mobile casino style games is one of the biggest success stories of the iOS and Android app scenes, period.
From an idea in its founders heads, to a company with millions of users around the globe and onwards to a successful exit (awarded as the “best European Startup Exit of 2015” by the European Business Angels Network), the AbZorba Games team rose to success through its clear vision, hard work and passion.
Founded in Athens on the summer of 2011 (amidst the peak of the Greek financial crisis), it quickly attracted millions of gamers, rose to the top of its category in both the iOS and Android stores, and got acquired by the (gambling giant) Novomatic Group in 2014.
Given the exponential raise of its user base and the large performance and reliability demands this required from its social gaming platform, AbZorba Games trusted Stackmasters for its cloud infrastructure management.
In this case study, we’ll describe the outline of the solution that we designed for AbZorba Games, and the managed cloud services plan that helped reliably propel the company into success (and we were along for the whole ride too: we began working with AbZorba Games from their very first months).
From the start, our target was a scalable 100% cloud based backend with tight SLAs.
Components of the AbZorba Games Cloud
Drawing from our long experience in cloud operations, and after discussing with the client, we settled on a multi-vendor strategy, with IBM SoftLayer’s and AWS cloud platforms.
The service was designed to provide high availability on every system architecture tier, complete with auto failover and fallback mechanisms.
For the database layer, we opted for the tried and true MySQL database. The development team is quite familiar with this relational engine and AbZorba Games needs for high in performance and reliability were there.
To maximize MySQL’s performance we used software based replication provided by Galera, which allows for horizontal scaling in read and write operations, with their multi-master setup for increased client throughput. Detailed performance metrics informed our decisions, and allowed us to fine-tune the MySQL setup based on AbZorba Games’ real traffic patterns.
For the application server part of the Mobile Games platform, we built a java web server farm based on Apache Tomcat and designed to scale horizontally to increase throughput and performance as required.
On top of the core service layers we run HAProxy as both a HTTP Load Balancer (to distribute load among platform services) and TCP load balancer (to distribute the load among MySQL cluster nodes), a choice proven very handful in the operations of the cloud infrastructure along the way. Health checks saved the day a couple of times as well.
Stackmasters Managed Cloud service
With the core backend services in place, the Stackmasters team turned its focus on operations, providing solutions for:
• Real time service quality metrics
• System monitoring reports
• Alerting and process definition in case of system failure
• Enforcement of security policies, backup and disaster – recovery processes
We automated operations to eliminate error prone human interaction as much as possible.
Besides the consulting services for their cloud, AbZorba Games opted for our Managed Cloud services plan under a monthly subscription model. Under this plan, Stackmasters provided them with:
Stackmasters worked with AbZorba Games from the startup’s early days to ensure there is a fast, reliable, and cost effective cloud solution powering their apps all the way through.
— Manos Moschous, CTO
- expert consulting on system architecture (including validating or altering existing architecture towards an end to end solution),
- automated infrastructure management using Ansible,
- performance and load tuning with an eye towards future demands,
- operational support
- monitoring and log management systems
- automated alerting system
- issue resolution and escalation management.
The AbZorba Games team was involved with the project in every step of the way, from the assessment of their existing infrastructure and the early architectural drafts for the new cloud, all the way to the final testing and delivery stages.
We emphasized clear communications and full agreement on the desired outcome and pace of delivery. To do so, we provided thorough high- and low-level technical explanations of our proposed solutions to ensure no misunderstandings.