How Draw Something Absorbed 50 Million New Users, in 50 Days, with Zero Downtime

Operations and Culture
Location: Hilton 1-6 Level: Intermediate
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With the acceleration of social media, games can grow from zero to millions of users overnight – the latest example being OMGPOP’s Draw Something. If you are planning to build and launch a social game, growth is what you should be concerned with and prepared for. So how exactly do you support the kind of growth you hope for, without breaking the bank, and while sustaining a compelling gaming experience? This talk focuses on the data management challenges game developers face and outlines the key criteria for selecting a data management model that will provide the scalability and performance needed to support a game from birth through massive growth.

I draw a technical distinction between NoSQL architectures and sharded MySQL with memcached, and talk about how to find your data layer sweet spot, based on your appliction workload. I talk about S3 as being at one end of the scale / latency curve, with stuff like Redis at the other end, and where the different data options fit in and how to find the right tool for the job.

Between technical remarks I’ll tell war stories about EBS outages, faulty hardware, and other things we’ve seen in field.

Photo of J Chris Anderson

J Chris Anderson


J. Chris Anderson is a cofounder of Couchbase and an Apache CouchDB committer and co-author of the O’Reilly book CouchDB: The Definitive Guide. He enjoys working on JavaScript CouchApps which can be peer-replicated just like any other data. Chris is obsessed with bending the physics of the web, and giving control back to users.


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