I attended the “How DevOps Met Gaming Needs” session by Sean Chighizola and Peter Garbes at Big Fish Games. They talked about the migration process to a DevOps model. They went over the history of Big Fish Games which started in 2002 with PC/Mac games. They use Akimai for their delivery. They use MySQL to run their site with physicall partitioning by feature/service. They used a the following technologies, Nagios, cacti, php, perl, subversion, bash scripts, etc. Their releases were site down deployments with all hands on deck.
The transition was hard to manage. Change was difficult, there has to be a driver. The addition of the free to play market was the driver for Big Fish. They used Fairway Solitaire as an example of a game the made the transition from the digital download to the free to play model. Even after the migration it would take 20-120 minutes to push out a change. A change was pushed every day.
Big Fish moved their daily courses to a self-service process. Was very successful. But it was not all roses. They had a lot of non standard changes that did not match their expected workflow. They saw the DevOps model as a way to solve these residual pains. They leveraged Jez Humble’s Continuous Delivery book as a guide. They were able to increase velocity while maintaining team size. They also were able to decrease failure rate.
They discovered that giving developers operational responsibility will make them think like operators. They use MEM 3.0 to provide self-service with Query Analyzer being a key driver for that decision. IT is not in the business of provisioning, we are in the business of engineering processes which put developers in control. They also went over some MySQL issues they have run into. I’ll need to grab their slides to get the links to dive in deeper.
They have been moving from Cacti to Graphite. They have not yet implemented database changes but have a proof of concept in place. They restrict the types of changes allowed and framework for where to put scripts.