FarmVille-maker Zynga reveals its secret for success (Hint: it's in the clouds)

Cloud ComputingContrary to popular belief, Zynga isn't making money by mistake. In fact, according to an in-depth feature on Information Week, the FarmVille pusher's success is thanks to an extremely calculated and technological process known as hybrid cloud computing. This method of storing user data on remote servers (special groups of computers designed to store and recall data, like your crop timers) is behind what keeps CityVille and the gang running.

In fact, Zynga CTO of infrastructure engineering Allan Leinwand says this process of using both internal server farms, or buildings that house hundreds of these data storage units, and public servers like Amazon's cloud computing service for businesses is the 'hidden jewel' of Zynga's rampant success.

I mean, how else did you think Zynga games could handle tens of millions of people logging into its games everyday? Using both Amazon's EC2, or Elastic Computer Cloud, and its own internal servers (known as the Z Cloud), Zynga can easily prepare for huge spikes in traffic by simply buying more public servers rather than building their own. And if a game flops, the company can just cancel those public servers. This especially comes in handy when new games release, like CityVille, which skyrocketed to over 100 million players in just over a month last year, could have just as easily failed. (Though, that was highly unlikely.)

If it weren't for Zynga's unique approach to handling traffic, relying more on Amazon's public service than its own internal network, the company could never support such huge numbers of players. Sometimes, it's not just viral marketing and advertising that makes a social game successful.

However, as Bloomberg reports, the Amazon EC2 service was used to launch the recent attacks on Sony's PSN and SOE networks. According to Pete Malcolm, CEO of Abiquo Inc., a Redwood City, Calif.-based company that helps clients manage data internally and in the cloud, it's easy for an individual to fudge business information long enough to launch an attack from Amazon's public service. As Zynga and other companies focus more attention on public cloud computing (and successfully), it might be time that both Amazon and Zynga ramp up their security efforts.

[Image Credit: RDN Consulting]

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