As smartphones and other mobile devices have become ubiquitous, the popularity of mobile video games has soared. Based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and with offices across Europe, mobile game developer Miniclip has capitalized on this trend by developing, publishing, and distributing highly engaging games to an audience of 70 million monthly active users worldwide across mobile, social, and online platforms. Miniclip’s mobile games—which include 8 Ball Pool, Soccer Stars, and Tanki Online—have been downloaded more than 500 million times.
Moving to the cloud
Despite the company’s success, Miniclip faced some serious challenges. “One of the biggest challenges in our industry is that when you deploy a new game, you don’t know how big it will be,” says Dave Shanker, Miniclip’s head of technology operations. “It can get expensive to set up a data center and buy physical hardware you might not need” just in case the game turns out to be megahit.
The solution to this uncertainty was to move its infrastructure to the cloud, which today enables Miniclip to deploy a new game and then quickly scale the infrastructure up or down depending on the game’s popularity, which helps the company save money.
Monitoring the cloud
But monitoring cloud usage and managing cloud resources presented its own challenges, and that’s where New Relic came in. Using New Relic APM, New Relic Servers, and New Relic Plugins “allowed us to identify any issues we had as we moved into the cloud and resolve them quickly,” says Shanker.
“With New Relic, we were able to see our actual utilization and scale our deployment more appropriately,” he adds. “This access to detailed utilization data saved us nearly $500,000 in cloud infrastructure services in one year.”
“Downtime is a scary word for online companies, but at Miniclip, it’s a word that’s not feared anymore because with New Relic it almost never happens.” —Gary Rutland, Senior Web Developer, Miniclip
Eliminating fire drills
Two other big challenges Miniclip faced were the lack of insight available to developers into the performance of their code, and the inability to decipher data that was provided by another monitoring solution. “The monitoring software we had only showed us server information,” explains Senior Web Developer Gary Rutland. “We really didn’t understand how we could use the information to help us identify issues with our applications.”
According to Miniclip CTO Camilo Marrugo, the company’s operations team had effectively become the “fire department,” spending much of its time dealing with immediate problems. The company was eager to adopt a DevOps approach in which engineering and operations could work together to create more stable releases and fix production problems faster, thus freeing developers to spend more time focusing on innovation.
With the New Relic Software Analytics Cloud in place, says Marrugo, “We’ve seen efficiencies that can save us hours, days, and even months before we release a product. Now our developers are able to focus on fun and innovation instead of putting out fires.”
To learn more about how New Relic helps Miniclip stay in the game, watch the video below: