Zynga's Z Cloud - Scale Fast or Fail Fast by Merging Private and Public Clouds
Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 9:06AM
Todd Hoff in Strategy, games

Release early and often. A/B testing. Creating a landing page and buying ads on AdSense. All are ways of providing quick feedback in order to validate an idea. If you are like Zynga, with 250 million active users a month, how do you cost effectively prove out a game that could flop or get 90 million users (like CityVille) in an instant?

Zynga handles this problem inlle an innovative way, by inverting the typical cloud burst scenario that has excess traffic flowing from a datacenter to a cloud, to having a game start in the cloud and then moving to the datacenter once the game has proved popular enough to keep.

This process is nicely described by Charles Babcock in Lessons From FarmVille: How Zynga Uses The Cloud, in an interview with Allan Leinwand, CTO of infrastructure engineering at Zynga.

When paired down to its essence, Zynga's strategy goes something like this:

Zynga is as ever tight lipped about the details of their infrastructure, but that doesn't really matter here, the idea of this easy bidirectional flow between clouds is a powerful one. Also, Zynga's proving ground approach doesn't preclude cloud bursting when appropriate. The flexibility for managing costs and risks is enormous. If only there was a cloud platform that could make this easier. Oh wait, there's...OpenStack.

Experiment Like MythBusters

I love the MythBusters as an example of going from small scale to a large scale experiments. I talk about them a bit in What Should I Do? Choosing SQL, NoSQL or Both for Scalable Web Applications:

Related Articles

Article originally appeared on (http://highscalability.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.