- Realized increased flexible scalability for social games division.
- Significantly reduced time spent on infrastructure maintenance tasks and
- Achieved a fully automated, virtualized infrastructure.
iWin's Recipe for Success
iWin.com is one of the leading casual game portals, reaching and interacting
with millions of global visitors and gamers every month. In addition to its
PC download, retail, and mobile businesses, iWin develops and publishes
games on Facebook including Family Feud, which has consistently been
Facebook’s number one TV game show application.
Though iWin employs a relatively small operations team, its infrastructure
was limited to a collection of legacy application and backend database
systems supporting a well-established e-commerce business. Facing an
upcoming large-scale project leveraging a legacy operating infrastructure,
the operations team hit a crossroads.
"The sheer amount of labor involved for the project was simply
unmanageable," says Shadow Roldan, iWin’s Director of Technical Operations.
"We were in a position where we would have had to manually conﬁgure and
update our entire infrastructure, which would have put our customers at risk
of not being able to access our latest games."
iWin engaged Chef to deploy a solution that would help them achieve
scalability for its social games business and keep them operating smoothly
and seamlessly, while improving overall service and system management.
Realistically, iWin needed to push itself into a more automated state, scale
more quickly and easily, and operate with more agility.
iWin determined that the best solution was to have Chef perform a full
systems migration to Chef. Once the infrastructure was migrated and
more smoothly managed, iWin was able to fully automate monitoring of several
key applications including alerting, graphing statistical trends and log
analysis enterprise-wide. This new functionality helped eliminate the need
for manual conﬁguration, which eats time and can lead to errors. "We spent
time consulting with Chef to develop the cook books that allowed us to
skip all that manual labor," says Roldan. "Instead of putting in all that
work multiple times, and then have more manual steps to implement again in
the future, we were left with an automated package that will allow us to
continually scale without putting in more time. Chef has allowed us to do
more with less."
iWin selected Chef’s Chef, which is based on the non-proprietary
Ruby DSL (domain speciﬁc language), over other industry solutions for
several compelling reasons. "Instead of learning a proprietary new language
that would only be good for the lifetime of the product, Learning standard
Ruby was going to be beneﬁcial to everyone on the team, this added a lot of
value to the overall selection of Chef as a technology platform,"
Deployment and migration went smoothly. The results have helped iWin move
from a four-to-six hour server deployment time to 20 minutes. Additionally,
adds Roldan, "Using Chef, we were provided with a whole new toolset
to do data-driven commands and data-driven queries. Knife is quite simply
iWin is actively pushing into multiple data centers and implementing cloud
hybrid solutions to complement its current virtual and physical servers. "We
evaluated solutions that would allow us the ﬂexibility of non vendor speciﬁc
cloud automation" says Roldan. "Because of Chef’s cloud infrastructure
support, it gave us the ability to take the work we are currently doing and
implement it directly in the cloud."
They have also migrated a large amount of legacy development and staging
environments to become fully managed using Chef. "Chef has helped
us through a period of time when we were deploying a lot of new application
stacks and on top of that deploying new operating system stacks. By
providing additional automation layers it made that transition smooth and
gave us an easy path to do upgrades further down the line."
Concludes Roldan, "Whenever we spin up a new system with two or three short
commands, we’re going to know that it is monitored properly, has all of its
statistical trends gathered correctly, all of its logs are going to the
right place and the right application stack is installed and conﬁgured
correctly. We are leaps and bounds ahead and in a better place today than we
were a year ago and that is a huge win for iWin. Getting on board with
Chef was one of the best things that we did."