The Jelastic Spotlight: Tatyana Zhak from Sugar Games

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Tatiana ZhakToday’s Jelastic spotlight comes to you from Russia. Some time ago we had a chat with Tatyana Zhak, a web developer from Sugar Games. Sugar Games is famous for its fun social network games development. Their project “My Perfect Wedding” (a social network dress up game) migrated to Jelastic a few months ago. It is very popular in such Russian social networks as Odnoklassniki, MailRu and Vk. This game has more than 3 million installations and more than 40K DAU (daily active users). Tatyana has kindly shared the reasons behind and the outcomes of their hosting changes.

So, let’s get started!

Tatyana, could you tell us what software stacks are necessary for your game?

In general, the server side consists of Apache, PHP and MySQL. Also we use memcached. Our project needs servers, which can withstand a load of 2,000 concurrent connections.

Sugar Games

What hosting did you previously use and why did you leave your provider?

We used Amazon Web Services before and it was very expensive. Moreover, it was impossible to contact their support. To be more exact it was possible, but in fact we didn’t get any response or help from them.

At first we decided to abandon the S3 service and to migrate to a cheaper solution (selectel). Because of this, we saved a lot of money. After that, we discussed changing to another hosting provider because selectel did not meet our needs. It was very important for us to have a convenient admin panel, so that we could control and monitor all of the parameters connected with our software stacks: Apache, PHP, MySQL, memcached and cron. At the same time, we discovered a new site – MailRu. While searching for new hosting we heard about Jelastic. Then we contacted their developers and figured out that Jelastic supports all the stacks and features we needed. We started our game on MailRu using Jelastic as a game server. This helped us to learn the value of service and what you pay for.

Could you tell us a little more about the migration process from Amazon to Jelastic?

Yes, sure. Our next step was migration from Odnoklassniki because that database was much smaller than Vk’s one (2 Gb vs 8 Gb). Server structure creation took about 10-15 minutes. We created an environment in the Jelastic dashboard and added all of the necessary modules (for Apache, MySQL, memcached and CentOS). Then we simply uploaded a zip package with the needed folder structure. That was almost it!:) Only thing remaining was to load the database. So we created a database using phpMyAdmin and restored the old database dump, which we had saved from our previous hosting. That process took a lot of time because we had to upload tons of huge tables with more than 2 million strings separately, using Import/Export in txt format.  Experience showed us that such an uploading method is faster than SQL queries. Also I want to mention that we didn’t change the application code or install any software like we had to do for Amazon.

How does automatic vertical scaling work for you? What are the load limits? Is vertical scaling enough for your needs?

Our app hasn’t reached the maximum limit on the sites with a lesser load (Odnoklassniki and Mail.ru). We’ve set up the following cloudlet limits for Odnoklassniki: Apache – 22 cloudlets, MySQL – 40 cloudlets. For Mail.ru the limits are: 16 cloudlets for Apache and 22 for MySQL. Regarding Vk, a few weeks ago we contacted our hoster dogado in order to increase the maximum limit for MySQL because 64 cloudlets were not enough for us. They immediately migrated our application to more powerful servers and increased the limits to 256 cloudlets. For now we have set up 64 cloudlets for Apache and 104 for MySQL. After that we didn’t have any overloads.

Are you satisfied with your current hosting? 

We are more than just satisfied with Jelastic:) If any issues occur, your support team responds very quickly.  Jelastic functionality is fully consistent with our requirements. I would also like to mention the automatic scaling feature. Payment is taken only for the used resources and that is very convenient for us, because the social project load is varied at different times, so we don’t overpay for “downtime”.

Which hosting provider is more economical?

Jelastic for sure. Our hosting expenses were reduced 50% compared with the costs at Amazon. BTW we only hosted two play-fields at Amazon and on Jelastic we host three.

What are the future plans for your app?

Project “My Perfect Wedding” isn’t being developed now since we are working on a new app (a similar project). We plan to launch a new project with the same play-fields and using the same hosting provider :)

Sugar Games

Thanks a lot for your time, Tatyana. We appreciate you sharing with us.

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