Zynga Builds Z Cloud Alternative To Amazon

Zynga, the creator of the hugely popular games FarmVille and YoVille, is building up Z Cloud, its private cloud infrastructure, and dramatically reducing its use of Amazon Web Services, Allan Leinwand, Zynga’s chief technology officer for infrastructure engineering, said Thursday.

The company as of January 2012 is putting 80 percent of Zynga’s daily active users (DAU) on Z Cloud and 20 percent on Amazon, a complete reversal from January 2011, when 20 percent of Zynga’s DAU were on Z Cloud and 80 percent on Amazon, Leinwand said at the Cloud Connect 2012 conference in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Zynga still intends to keep a relationship with Amazon and believes that having a hybrid cloud plays an important role supporting a business that has more than 240 million people playing its games and creating massive demands for data.

“Z Cloud is still a hybrid cloud,” he said. “We have found that having both tracts allows us to have an effective use of the infrastructure.”

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Zynga has invested significantly in making sure Z Cloud is optimized to deliver the best service possible to users, while Amazon Web Services is used increasingly to handle less critical needs, he added.

To wring the best performance out of Z Cloud, Zynga conducted a rigorous, worldwide performance review.

“We found Z Cloud wasn’t as efficient as we wanted it to be,” he said. The company examined network bottlenecks, CPU usage, memory, cache, input/output per second, and other factors. “We found that our Web servers were CPU constrained, so we used faster, denser CPU cores.

“We built Z Cloud to be highly accessible, and optimized for most games, but we really think both (clouds) are relevant,” Leinwand said. “We look at Z Cloud as a race car and Amazon as a four-door sedan.”

Optmizing Z Cloud has created significant savings for Zynga. “For every three servers in the public cloud, now we need just one server for Z Cloud,” he said.

Nonetheless, Zynga plans on keeping a hybrid cloud. “I like having both private and public clouds,” Leinwand said. “We want to launch games on Z Cloud and launch other services on Amazon.”