Subatomic Studios is a small game studio with big ambitions. From its offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the company produces ultra-high-quality video games unlike anything else on mobile platforms by providing players with all the fun and value of mainstream video games. Subatomic is known for its Fieldrunners and TinkerBox games—developed for iOS—and plans to release new games while also expanding game support to the Android platform.
SUBATOMIC STUDIOS SAVES TIME AND MONEY WITH DEVOPS AUTOMATION
G2 Tech Group’s DevOps Automation Frees Internal Resources To Focus on Core Business
Initially, Subatomic distributed games as stand-alones downloaded onto mobile devices from the Apple App Store. Then the company expanded its offerings by delivering games as a service via Amazon Web Services. These games feature online rankings and in-app purchases for additional functionality and are a core component of the company’s product evolution.
This shift in functionality also required a significant shift in infrastructure, and that infrastructure had to be able to handle sharp spikes in demand. Subatomic’s original plan could not effectively support or scale the AWS platform to meet these new needs, and Nick Gotch, a Senior Server Engineer at Subatomic Studios, brought AWS management and DevOps in-house. “But our expertise is in developing and fine-tuning game applications,” Gotch says. “We quickly realized our skills do not extend to DevOps.”
Provisioning and maintaining an application infrastructure like AWS is also a 24×7 job, and moving DevOps in-house quickly took a toll on the Subatomic team and the company’s productivity. Staff logged many sleepless nights to serve the maintenance issues, and during the day, infrastructure tasks pulled the team away from their work on new games and features.
And because Subatomic was succeeding, the problem got worse: the rising popularity of Subatomic’s games put increased pressure on their AWS servers. Because the Subatomic team was trying to support both infrastructure and their development projects, servers (and users) experienced degraded performance. Clearly, Subatomic Studios needed to quickly resolve the issue.
Gotch began looking for a cloud partner and found the answer to its challenge in G2 Tech Group, an advanced AWS consulting partner providing managed AWS cloud support and DevOps automation services in Boston.
“We moved forward with G2 after talking to some of their other customers,” says Gotch. “We could clearly see that their team jumps in very quickly and provides what’s needed to fine-tune AWS infrastructures so they function at optimal levels.”
Tech Services Used
Amazon Web Services Used:
- EC2 (elastic cloud compute)
- ElastiCache (in-memory data store)
- S3 (storage)
- CloudWatch (monitoring)
- OpsWorks (automated configuration)
- RDS (relational database)
- VPC (virtual private cloud)
G2 applied immediate configuration changes so the Subatomic Studios AWS infrastructure could deliver higher application throughput. The changes not only enabled the company to provide the video game performance players expect, but also decreased the required number of AWS servers, reducing Subatomic’s monthly cloud computing costs by more than 40%.
The partnership between the two companies has also generated several additional benefits:
- Eliminates the need to manually intervene to keep the application infrastructure running.
- Scales compute resources automatically by spinning up additional servers when game demand spikes.
- Automatically removes log files to prevent hard drives from filling up and bringing servers down.
- Reduces the number of reserved server instances to necessary levels to further control cloud computing costs.
- Provides 24×7 monitoring so the internal team can sleep through the night and focus on application development during the day.
- Eliminates the need to hire, train, and manage an internal DevOps staff.
While Subatomic undoubtedly could have built up the capacity to handle DevOps internally, Gotch is convinced partnering with G2 is a better approach, both because they’ve been able to spend a lot less and because they’ve been able to focus more on what only they can do to grow their business.
“We don’t possess the specific expertise to hire and build an internal DevOps staff, and we would probably need three or four frontline resources as well as a manager,” Gotch points out. “That approach costs a lot more and would take several months to build. And that’s time we can’t afford when rolling out new game releases—we need them to perform optimally right away.” Partnering with G2 has allowed them to fix their infrastructure problem quickly and get back to game development.
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