MindCandy,launched in 2004, is a leading developer of multi-player gamestargeted at the rapidly expanding social online games market. Itsmain product, MoshiMonsters,is its biggest hit to date and is enjoying exponential growth withover 10 million players worldwide, and more than one million newplayers subscribing each month. The game relies heavily on an ITplatform managed by Mind Candy, and became the focus of the company?sattention in 2009, when the number of players was set to top 4million.
(Image courtesy: Mind Candy) Atthat point, Mind Candy realized it needed to make changes to its ITinfrastructure. The Moshi Monsters infrastructure is based on the JavaPlatform, Standard Edition 6running Debian GNU/Linux. It includes Apache Tomcat Web applicationservers, memcached and PostgreSQL databases as well as open sourceframeworks such as Spring and Hibernate. Prior to the upgrade, MindCandy already had Sun Fire X2100 servers acting as load balancers,and chose to make the use of Intel?s new ?Nehalem? Xeonprocessors a key criterion for the update.

Workingwith Sun as a member of the SunStartup Essentialsprogram, Mind Candy finalized the infrastructure expansion designbased on two of Sun?s newest Xeon-processor based servers, the SunFire X4170servers for applications working alongside a SunFire X4270server for one of the platform?s main databases. The new Sunsolutions were installed in just a couple of days, and deployedalongside the existing equipment. The Sun Fire X4170 servers gaveMind Candy significantly higher I/O speeds, along with multithreadingtechnology for greater performance and power management. The SunFire X4270 server provided more than four times the processingperformance and memory, and doubled the number of disk drive bays to16.

Sincethe full solution went live in July 2009, Toby Moore, ChiefTechnology Officer at Mind Candy said the performance and scalabilityof the new platform has fully justified the company?s investment.He stated: ?The platform is incredibly fast. Before, the CPUutilization rate for our database servers was about 70%, but now it?sdropped to 15%. The speed of our Tomcat Web application servers hasdoubled, and the amount of RAM on our servers has quadrupled.? Inaddition to the increased speed, the Sun platform consumes relativelylow amounts of energy, and still has plenty of headroom forexpansion. The company is now looking to focus on storage and hasplans to deploy a SunStorage 7000 Unified Storage Systemin the near future.

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