So what is Amazon Web Services?
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a subsidiary of Amazon providing on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to individuals, companies, and governments, on a metered pay-as-you-go basis. These cloud computing web services provide a variety of basic abstract technical infrastructure and distributed computing building blocks and tools. One of these services is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which allows users to have at their disposal a virtual cluster of computers, available all the time, through the Internet. AWS’s version of virtual computers emulates most of the attributes of a real computer, including hardware central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs) for processing; local/RAM; hard-disk/SSD storage; a choice of operating systems; networking; and pre-loaded application software such as web servers, databases, and customer relationship management (CRM).
So what is Pay as you go model means?
Amazon Web Services offers pay-as-you-go pricing, which enables you to pay only for what you use. Once you stop your usage, there is no fee to terminate, and billing stops immediately. Pay-as-you-go pricing offers you the chance to save over on-premises infrastructure without buying a perpetual software license. With services like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), this means you can be flexible with your server allocation by scaling up during peak traffic and scaling back down during periods of lesser need. Since Amazon Machine Image (AMI) products in AWS Marketplace run on Amazon EC2, you get the same flexibility with preconfigured software applications.
So what is MPL’s business?
MPL is an eSports platform for mobile gaming in India. The company offers more than 40 games, including fantasy sports such as cricket, that can be played for cash prizes. Launched in August 2018, the app now has more than 40 million subscribers, with 100 games played per second.
With the proliferation of smartphones and affordable mobile data plans in India, mobile gaming is quickly becoming a common pastime. According to Kantar IMRB, India currently ranks fifth among the world’s top mobile gaming markets. Bangalore-based Mobile Premier League (MPL) is one of the biggest and fastest-growing players, offering more than 40 games via its eSports platform. All games, including fantasy sports or the country’s favourite, Rummy, can be played for cash prizes. The MPL mobile app launched in September 2018 and acquired 10 million users within three months, which met the company’s one-year subscriber goal.
So what Amazon Web Services are used by MPL?
- Amazon DynamoDB
- Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service
- Amazon Aurora
- AWS Enterprise Support
The MPL launched on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud because many of its DevOps engineers had experience on the platform, which accelerated time-to-market. Scalability and automation were also a priority for MPL’s AWS Cloud infrastructure. The startup began with Amazon Aurora as its primary database, using Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) to automate administrative tasks such as provisioning and backups. However, as its dataset grew — particularly its volume of unstructured data — MPL found that Amazon DynamoDB NoSQL database service worked better for gaming use cases because it offered low-latency data access and easy horizontal scaling.
Amazon DynamoDB can efficiently handle volume, velocity, and veracity for the data-heavy workloads typical of gaming companies. Additionally, the database automatically scales capacity to maintain performance during peak periods such as national sporting events, when online traffic for MPL’s fantasy games can spike to 2.5 million hits per minute. Such automation is key in MPL’s architecture and resource planning.
Despite being a year and a half into operations, MPL’s DevOps engineering team have never had to expand since launch. “Our team of 12 engineers manages DevOps, reliability engineering, and 24/7 monitoring,” says Mukta Aphale, vice president of Reliability Engineering at MPL. “We don’t need a big team to run all our applications on AWS.” Its DevOps engineers currently use a microservices architecture for development, automating the deployment of more than 50 separate microservices using AWS CodeDeploy and AWS Lambda.
Why MPL trusted AWS?
With such rapid growth, MPL has relied on support from AWS for debugging and periodic re-architecting to scale. The startup recently subscribed to AWS Enterprise Support to prepare for the launch of a big campaign. Teams appreciate having an AWS technical account manager (TAM) and AWS Infrastructure Event Management (IEM) as part of the support package, with focused planning and ready assistance leading up to and during the launch.
Early on, AWS hosted an AWS Dev Day event, where MPL teams used Amazon Inspector to uncover potential security vulnerabilities in their infrastructure. These vulnerabilities have since been resolved, and MPL has implemented Amazon GuardDuty for ongoing security monitoring.
AWS solutions architects held several discussions with MPL and shared the benefits of containerization. Following that, MPL conducted its own evaluation and moved ahead with containerizing its microservices using Kubernetes. The aim of this is twofold: to stabilize application performance at scale and improve operational efficiency. Its engineers use Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) to run the containers with high availability.
So how AWS help MPL grow?
A large portion of MPL’s new customer base comes from referrals, so the business focuses heavily on customer satisfaction. For instance, because sub-millisecond latency is critical in gaming to ensure players don’t experience a lag between moves, MPL has been able to maintain an API response time of 30 milliseconds or less since its launch.
In working with AWS to fine-tune its architecture, engineers have also improved the app’s service availability. “Our app uptime has increased significantly to 99.9 per cent,” Aphale says. Due to MPL’s confidence in the underlying AWS architecture, the DevOps team is more geared up to take on new challenges. Taking advantage of managed services from AWS and increased automation allow the team to take on development tasks they find interesting and to learn about technology applications such as containers firsthand.
So what are the Future Plans of MPL with AWS?
In its road to expansion, MPL launched its gaming platform in Indonesia in July 2019 and is awaiting the launch of AWS data centres in the country by 2022 Aphale concludes.
MPL feedback after using AWS
AWS has been by our side throughout our entire growth journey, from debugging to stabilizing and optimizing to now expanding our product.
The source of the above data is amazon user story and can be verified here.
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