Zynga, a mega-popular social media games platform, has seen stunning growth in the past few years. With 215 million users now playing its games, the company is face with a number of challenges in order to stay competitive – among them scalability.
Cloud offerings are said to offer companies the ability to almost infinitely scale their data and storage needs, and with the massive success of Farmville, it was apparent that Zynga needed a virtual solution that exceeded its needs rather than simply meeting them.
Rumors flew in 2010 that the company had purchased a large data center, and they began using the RightScale cloud management platform – one of the few companies to do so on a large scale. With the release of their next game, Cityville, looming on the horizon, many wondered if the company would be ready for the 20 million users that had subscribed by only four months after the launch.
To deal with expanding storage needs, Zynga has adopted what is known as a hybrid cloud strategy – one that involves both public and private models. When a game is released, Zynga now launches it using the Amazon service EC2. Once the game has an established player base, the data is migrated to the “Z cloud”, Zynga’s own private cloud service that is backed up coast to coast.
According to Allan Leinward of Zynga, “we view the public cloud and private cloud as one system. We architect and manage it as one system”. This allows the company to keep full control over its data at all times, while still remaining flexible and scalable.
With the newly-announced Gagaville and exclusive Lady Gaga songs for Farmville players, Zynga will need all the storage it can get.