REINVENTION IN THE CLOUD
Highlights from AWS re: Invent 2015
“Why are companies flocking to the cloud so quickly?” That was one of the many questions raised by Andy Jassy, Senior Vice President of Amazon Web Services during his keynote at AWS re: Invent 2015. Apart from increased agility and the ability to go global in minutes, Jassy puts it best by saying: “The cloud affords businesses certain freedoms and the ability to control their businesses’ destiny.”
Read on as we take you through our conversations with two notable AWS customers from our part of the region.
“We don’t actually see Netflix as a big threat to what we’re doing. The overlap in content is not big enough that having both is a good thing for customers since they in turn get to enjoy a substantially wider content base.”
FROM ZERO TO HERO
iflix believes that everybody should have access to great content at an affordable price. As one of Southeast Asia’s leading on-demand video streaming services, iflix currently offers a diverse portfolio of movies and TV content to customers in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, which has grown organically to 850,000 users just a little before its half-year mark.
According to Chief Technology Officer Ash Crick, a business model like iflix would not have been possible without the cloud and the plethora of services provided by AWS. Offering far beyond CPU, RAM and storage, AWS services essentially encapsulate what the iflix team would have otherwise needed more time and resources to ensure its Internet TV platform is ready for primetime.
While there is a good proportion of local content to complement the Hollywood movies and Korean dramas, what is iflix’s take on Netflix and its expansion into countries like Japan and Australia?
“We don’t actually see Netflix as a big threat to what we’re doing. The overlap in content is not big enough that having both is a good thing for customers since they in turn get to enjoy a substantially wider content base,” commented Crick.
iflix recently launched a feature named ‘Download & Watch Offline’, which gives subscribers the ability to download TV shows or movies onto their devices for offline viewing.
With years of experience in scalability under his belt, Crick and his team clearly think highly of AWS, for iflix runs entirely on the cloud-computing platform. “No other cloud providers come close to the number of services available on AWS,” added Crick.
The iflix team evaluates every new service that is introduced to AWS, swapping out custom-written codes should a particular service serve their purpose more efficiently. When asked about the possibility of implementing Kinesis Firehose, Crick mentioned that it’s definitely worth exploring, seeing as iflix relies on Kinesis to process streaming data of massive scale.
GAMING IS SERIOUS BUSINESS
The mobile games industry is one incredibly competitive market. gumi Asia, the mobile game developer behind Brave Frontier (which amassed more than 30 million downloads), understands this all too well. Unlike console titles, mobile games tend to have a shorter lifespan, many of which are based around the free-to-play or ‘freemium’ model, as well as integrated with some level of social integration and a uniquely fun premise.
For every success stories, there are countless that barely registered on the radar. It’s also due to this reason that most developers are wary of investing in an on-premise or co-located infrastructure, only for the game to be retired in less than two years. “It’s better for us to use a cloud-based service [like AWS], where we can scale up or down anytime we want,” said Doshi.
As a subsidiary of gumi Inc. with teams spread across Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia, gumi Asia currently has six games under its belt. With the exception of Chain Chronicle, the other five titles are powered by AWS with shared services across the titles, allowing the teams to focus on their core areas, whether it’s developing new IPs or gameplay refinements, and less on infrastructure management.
Another reason for favoring AWS managed services offerings? “Scaling is easy with AWS, and it helps in evaluating architecture, as well as finding solutions to overcome certain technical hurdles. In our early days, overprovisioning puts a great deal of burden on us, and we now run load and stress tests on AWS before putting our games into production. This way, we are prepared to fix issues that should occur in production,” Doshi added.
Are mobile games the future? Doshi believed it’s a long way before we get the kind of experience possible on dedicated gaming consoles. However, smartphone manufacturers are coming out with increasingly powerful devices, and there will be developers like gumi Asia who will utilize that hardware to the absolute maximum to deliver the best possible mobile gaming experience.
“Scaling is easy with AWS, and it helps in evaluating architecture, as well as finding solutions to overcome certain technical hurdles. In our early days, overprovisioning puts a great deal of burden on us, and we now run load and stress tests on AWS before putting our games into production. This way, we are prepared to fix issues that should occur in production.”
Andy Jassy, Senior VP, AWS.
ASH CRICK Chief Technology Officer, iflix
NIRAV DOSHI Technical Director, gumi Asia