Taiwan-based 9Splay is an operator of app-based mobile games. Besides Taiwan, the company also has operations in China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, and Malaysia. 9Splay is taking advantage of the rapid growth in mobile gaming across Southeast Asia and using its experience in game distribution and advertising to drive growth. Today, the company is valued at about NT$169 million (US$5.3 million).
The market for app-based games shows no signs of shrinking in the near future. The industry—like the gaming market as a whole—is expanding fast, particularly in Asia. According to Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report, revenues from gaming are set to hit NT$99.6 billion (US$3.11 billion) worldwide in 2016, so there are many companies looking to enter the field. 9Splay, a longtime games operator based in Taiwan, knows well that competition is increasing.
9Splay aims to become the largest mobile game companies in Taiwan. As the company expands globally, the business looked for ways to control costs and an infrastructure that would allow it to start small and scale over time. It also wanted a solution that would be more cost effective than an on-premises hosted solution. “Cost was even more important in a new market, so we had to maximize our IT spend,” says Yu WenChun, IT infrastructure manager at 9Splay. Prior to the launch in South Korea, there had been service availability problems in Taiwan because of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which stopped logging in of gaming apps from the game server. 9Splay wanted to put a strong defense in place in South Korea to prevent the problem from being repeated. “We saw some firewall services priced at hundreds of thousands of New Taiwan dollars a month, but that exceeded out budget, WenChun says. “We needed an alternative.”
Why Amazon Web Services
9Splay looked for a cloud-service provider that could deliver what it needed to meet its goals in South Korea. It launched proofs of concept with several cloud-service providers, but wasn’t satisfied with the performance of any of them. WenChun had worked with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and he proposed its services as an answer. Using his experience, WenChun successfully demonstrated that AWS offered the levels of security, availability, disaster recovery, and cost-effectiveness that 9Splay needed.
The company constructed an AWS Cloud environment to support its services with the help of AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, Nextlink Technology. 9sPlay developed the architecture to maximize performance and resiliency against DDoS attacks. At the heart of the environment are Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) nodes, which run an application that identifies users and enables them to sign in to their accounts. Amazon Route 53 provides the first line of defense against DDoS attacks by identifying anomalies in domain-name-service queries. To strengthen defenses, Amazon CloudFront is integrated with the AWS Web Application Firewall (AWS WAF) to detect and filter malicious web requests. Through this integration, 9Splay can establish policies to block access and close down attempted connections from IP addresses that suggest a DDoS attack is starting.
By working with AWS, 9Splay has significantly improved its defenses against DDoS attacks at a much lower cost than working with other firewall-service providers. “We have put in strong defenses against DDoS attacks using AWS at about five percent of the monthly cost of a leading firewall provider. We are protecting our infrastructure and staying within our IT budget, enabling the business to allocate more resources to other teams,” says WenChun.
The impact of the Amazon CloudFront and AWS WAF integration was immediate. 9sPlay saw a significant rise in the availability of the services for player logins. “We have increased the availability of services for our gaming apps by up to 60 percent with our AWS firewall protection,” says WenChun.
The organization has also overcome any limitations to scaling its IT for business growth. While it still uses an on-premises hosted solution to support some parts of the company, its AWS services are driving expansion in South Korea and other countries in the region. “Through AWS, we can scale our IT cost effectively, helping us to expand in competitive markets across the Asia Pacific region,” says WenChun.
The company’s move to AWS is also reducing IT management expenses. When WenChun thinks about the cost of using AWS instead of an on-premises hosted solution, he says the difference is substantial. “We have reduced management time by at least 70 percent by using AWS to support our South Korea business rather than an on-premises solution. That figure represents a significant monetary saving to the organization."
“We have increased the availability of services for our gaming apps by up to 60% with our AWS firewall protection.”
Yu Wen Chun, IT Infrastructure Manager