The Sanoma diversified media group produces an expansive collection of consumer content, including magazines, newspapers, and educational materials. The group also operates several television and radio stations, in addition to a variety of online and mobile services such as Sanoma Games. Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Sanoma has approximately 15,000 employees in twenty European countries.
The Sanoma Games business unit features casual online gaming portals and fantasy sports leagues. Recently, Sanoma Games initiated expansion into additional markets and gaming categories. During this process, the unit decided to close its own datacenter in favor of an adaptable service architecture.
Sanoma Games then invited Nordcloud to tailor the new infrastructure for the business unit’s resource-intensive applications operating under dramatic load variations. The solution must also uphold legacy software while enabling the latest web technologies and flexible development environments.
Why Amazon Web Services
As an Amazon Web Services Solutions Provider, Nordcloud did not hesitate to recommend AWS as a perfect answer to Sanoma Games’ challenge. “At Nordcloud, we use AWS products for our customers’ cloud-based hosting because the platform offers excellent performance, convenience, and cost-effectiveness,” explains CEO Esa Kinnunen. “AWS gives us advanced and precise monitoring capabilities and enables us to easily deploy additional server resources when necessary, which is vital for us to cope with peak demand in the case of Sanoma Games.”
The new AWS solution incorporates Amazon S3 for static file storage and a collection of Amazon EC2 instances with Auto Scaling to handle usage fluctuations. Amazon EC2 offers the additional benefit of hassle-free remote server upgrades.
The heart of Sanoma Games’ infrastructure is Amazon RDS running with Read Replicas in multiple Availability Zones. Because the company’s fantasy sports leagues primarily revolve around Finnish and Swedish hockey and football, Amazon RDS instances can be alternated between sports as seasons end. Amazon RDS also simplifies administrative tasks and complex processes, such as scaling and replication, through the AWS Management Console.
In addition, the AWS Management Console streamlines snapshot creation and server launches, which Nordcloud credits with bolstering system resilience. Other automated tasks are conducted with Python scripts through the AWS API, thereby avoiding the cost of third-party software. Furthermore, Amazon ElastiCache acts as a development environment, although Nordcloud eventually plans to move the in-memory caching service into production as a replacement for the current memcached system.
The entire environment averages thirty-five different AWS instances, peaking at approximately fifty instances during the start of the Finnish hockey season. Nordcloud monitors all of these resources with Amazon CloudWatch. The diagram below reveals the AWS-based architecture:
Figure 1: Sanoma Architecture on AWS
Sanoma Games is now positioned to expedite its growth into new markets and categories, while conveniently customizing its AWS platform for existing casual gamers and enthusiastic sports fans.
Olof Hoverfält, head of the Sanoma Games business unit, notes, “The combination of the AWS product portfolio and Nordcloud’s talented, customer-focused expert team—developing services directly in the cloud—provides Sanoma Games with the scalability and durability to successfully serve millions of gamers around the world.”