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Gamepub reduces downtime with Azure Database for MySQL

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Gamepub keeps gamers happy by reducing downtime with Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server. Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, Gamepub is a major game publisher with popular titles, such as Empire of Warships, Final Three Kingdoms 2, and Princess Tale. The customer needed a fast and reliable database infrastructure to host its game with low operations overhead. With a switch to Microsoft Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server, Gamepub was able to coordinate server maintenance to coincide with scheduled game maintenance, in addition to achieving resource monitoring and reduced downtime. Failure prevention and analysis has also become much easier, which directly benefits the publisher's bottom line.​

Switching to Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server helped us reduce service downtime by aligning server maintenance with the game maintenance schedule. Failure prevention and analysis has also become much easier with operating system-level monitoring. 

Seokchan Sohn: Lead of System Team | Gamepub​

Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, Gamepub quickly became one of the leading publishers of mobile games in the country since the company's launch in 2015. Gamepub specializes in the marketing, operations, publishing, and development of mobile games and works in partnership with game developers around the world. The company now garners one of the highest game publishing revenues in South Korea. 

"Gamepub is on a mission to provide a variety of games that many people can enjoy and have fun playing," says Seokchan Sohn, Lead of System Team at Gamepub. And gamers are certainly enjoying its titles. This rising popularity can be explained, in part, by the company's willingness to take chances and innovate. "In 2016, we released Empire of Warships, a game with naval battles. This was a concept that wasn't familiar to Koreans at the time. But we tried it and it was popular. It's still available today," says Sohn. 

Gamepub has also published well-known titles such as Junior Three Kingdoms and Final Three Kingdoms 2 through partnership with established gaming companies. Gamepub's newest game, Island, was developed using Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server. 

In 2018, Gamepub started producing games in-house. One example is Princess Tale, which launched recently and has become popular globally, especially in Asia. The game received top ranking on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

Gamepub continues to launch innovative concepts, such as My Little Forest, a healing simulation game that was launched in June 2021.

Supporting the global launch of games

When providing services in a global environment, a stable and fast infrastructure is critical to maintaining service quality. To preserve the stability of its global services and ensure availability, Gamepub relies on Microsoft Azure. The company started using the Azure cloud platform at the end of 2019 so it would have the availability and elastic scalability it needed to handle a sudden influx of global users of newly launched games.

"We had a great experience with Azure Front Door when we rolled out global services for the soft launch of our games. Currently, it only supports HTTP and HTTPS, but we are watching with interest if it will support socket connection in the future," says Sohn.

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Increasing availability and stability while decreasing costs

In 2021, Gamepub switched from Azure Database for MySQL to Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server—a recent deployment option that provides increased control and flexibility of database server parameters, more options for high availability, and cost optimization controls. Gamepub built Island using Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server. "Server provisioning, maintenance, and monitoring requires a lot of time and human resources," says Sohn. "Compared with installing and using MySQL on a virtual machine, I saved about 25 percent of resources by deploying the Flexible Server option." Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server can be used for internet-scale web and mobile applications.

"Switching to Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server helped us reduce service downtime by aligning server maintenance with the game maintenance schedule. Failure prevention and analysis has also become much easier with operating system–level monitoring. All of these management capabilities are directly related to our quality of service," says Sohn.

When Gamepub learned about this new option, the team was a bit hesitant about trying a service that was still in preview, but they were really interested in its capabilities. Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server offers custom maintenance windows, for example, which is very beneficial to Gamepub.

"We want to be in control of when we do maintenance so we can minimize downtime," says Sohn. "When there's downtime that's not related to a content update, it impacts customer loyalty and retention because gamers are disappointed even when there's a short delay in access. With Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server, we have flexibility in when we schedule maintenance."

Now, the company can control the timing for patches and upgrades and schedule maintenance to coincide with the release of game updates. "With Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server, disk management tasks such as disk volume size changes and IOPS performance optimization can be run online without maintenance," says Sohn. "We were able to eliminate about two unnecessary maintenance periods per quarter."

Gamepub is keeping gamers happy by closely monitoring memory usage, not just of the database management system but also the operating system (OS)—something that wasn't possible before.

"If the database is restarted because of being out of memory, it's impossible to determine the exact cause just by monitoring the memory usage of the database management system," says Sohn. "With Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server, we can monitor OS memory usage, which helps provide stability and prevent servers from going down, which would interrupt game play."

Rollout is easy because guided developer experiences simplify the end-to-end deployment. Gamepub could also count on the support of Microsoft, which helped ensure that the process went smoothly. "Whenever we needed to resolve an issue during our migration to Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server, Microsoft provided practical solutions," Sohn says.

Exploring new capabilities

Gamepub keeps innovating and is interested in exploring Microsoft Azure Machine Learning for in-game analysis and fraud detection. The company is looking forward to continuing the partnership with Microsoft and appreciates the continuous release of new features and enhancements provided by Azure.

Based on its positive experience with Azure Database for MySQL - Flexible Server and services like Azure Front Door, the company is excited about what the future will bring.

Find out more about Gamepub on Facebook and YouTube.

Server provisioning, maintenance, and monitoring requires a lot of time and human resources, compared with installing and using MySQL on a virtual machine, I saved about 25 percent of resources by deploying the Flexible Server option. 

Seokchan Sohn: Lead of System Team | Gamepub​​

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