Recently am part of Zynga‘s database team as I was pretty much impressed with company’s database usage. As everyone knows how popular Zynga games like Farmville, Cafe World, Mafia Wars, Poker, FrontierVille, FishVille, PetVille and Treasure Island etc are. Zynga launched yet another new game today called CityVille along with series of acquisitions (latest today is NewToy). You can find current Zynga game stats from appdata.
But lot of people asked me why I am part of Zynga database team when there is no MySQL being used by any of the games; and lot of articles on the web also indicate the same. For me it does not matter if it is MySQL or NoSQL or any other system as long as the data store can help to scale the systems and/or games in this case.
As a consultant, I help lot of other companies to scale using NoSQL systems apart from MySQL especially on large data handling; as the data store solution should help to scale the systems to yield the desired results; especially MySQL should be used for typical OLTP workloads and combination of MySQL and NoSQL or any other data warehouse clusters for analytics and/or OLAP workloads by combining with right application and caching components based on the business model and how the data is generated, stored, accessed and processed.
If you don’t use the right technology for what you trying to achieve, then you can’t easily scale, and end up spending time in fixing the performance and scalability issues on day to day basis rather than concentrating on building features that is demanded by the business.
As a matter of fact, Zynga may be the second largest MySQL user after Facebook. All games at Zynga are currently powered by MySQL as the backend storage along with memcache as the middle caching layer.
Last month we expanded the MySQL shards to one of the popular game due to increased DAU (Daily Average Users), and the whole expansion of MySQL shards in production happened without any down-time or taking the game down; which is only possible if the application code is tightly integrated with the caching, backend storage and also if the servers are in the cloud and elastic in nature (unless you have your own private cloud).