GREE, Inc. Achieves 40 Gigabits-per-Second, High-Speed Connectivity, Stores Large Volumes of Social Network Data at Lowest Possible Cost
 
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GREE, Inc. Achieves 40 Gigabits-per-Second, High-Speed Connectivity, Stores Large Volumes of Social Network Data at Lowest Possible Cost

  • Oracle Customer:  GREE Inc.
    Location:  Tokyo, Japan
    Industry:  Media and Entertainment
    Employees:  1,203
    Annual Revenue:  $500 Million to $1 Billion

GREE Inc. is one of Japan’s leading social-networking service operators. The company builds mobile, social-gaming ecosystems for users and developers, with an emphasis on creating and supporting unique, free-to-play game content and social media services. GREE’s network reaches more than 230 million players and offers various game applications to users around the world.

In May 2012, GREE launched a global, mobile-gaming platform called GREE Platform. To support this new platform, GREE has to ensure it can store and analyze growing volumes of log data―information on the number of game players, the applications they use, and how frequently they access the gaming platform. The company decided to switch from local to network-attached storage.

In December 2011, GREE implemented Oracle’s Sun ZFS Storage 7420 appliance and Sun Fire X4170 M2 server, running Oracle Solaris 11, to support its social network data analysis, obtaining higher levels of performance for approximately the same cost as an internal-disk storage system. The company has strengthened its analytics capabilities while achieving significant savings in total acquisition and operating costs.

The Oracle Sun ZFS Storage Appliance is connected to the Sun Fire X4170 M2 server through a Sun Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 36. The ZFS Storage Appliance runs on Oracle Solaris 11 and exploits the power of the Solaris ZFS file system.

 
Support for a Growing Social Gaming Business

A word from GREE, Inc.

  • “Sun ZFS Storage 7420 appliance provides a powerful, tier 1 storage infrastructure for GREE’s business operations, as we strive to reflect results of log-data analysis regarding qualitative improvements to our social media services. Our aim is to be the leader in the fiercely competitive, global, social platforms industry.” – Kouhei Mori, General Manager, Systems Coordination Department, Development Headquarters, GREE, Inc.

GREE’s aim is to provide mobile gaming services that users will take pleasure in using. According to Kouhei Mori, general manager, systems coordination department, development headquarters, GREE, Inc., the company does this by “making continuous service improvements while rotating the plan-go-check-act (PDCA) cycle on a daily basis. We are proud that our services are underpinned by a corporate culture of constant improvement.”

GREE collects terabytes of log data every day to analyze traffic and service patterns in its effort to continuously improve customer service.

“For example, the log data allows us to monitor players’ activities and see how frequently they access our gaming applications and which games they are downloading and playing,” said Takashi Ichii, an engineer at GREE’s development headquarters. “Anyone involved in service improvement―games developers, engineers, business development staff―can easily get ahold of log data reports.”

“There has been a constant increase in log data in line with the rising number of game players and the frequency of access,” said Mori. “We believe the data growth curve will rise even more steeply now we’ve launched the GREE Platform and commenced global social gaming services.”

 
InfiniBand Provides Efficient Data Storage and Transfer

 
Better Than Expected Performance

 
Higher Performance at the Same Cost

 
Oracle Solaris Drives Performance Improvements

 
 

 
 

Challenges

  • Store and analyze growing volumes of data on the company’s social network services, including information on the types of gaming applications users are downloading and how frequently they access the applications
  • Provide game developers, engineers, and business development staff with access to the log-data analysis reports, so they can determine the service improvements that need to be made
  • Support the launch of the GREE platform, a global mobile gaming platform that is expected to attract up to 230 million users

Solutions

  • Achieved a high level of performance by using Sun Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 36 to connect the Sun ZFS Storage 7420 Appliance with the Sun Fire X4170 M2 server running Oracle Solaris 11
  • Delivered high-speed connectivity at 40 gigabits per second and enabled low-cost-per-terabyte storage and excellent cost and performance ratios through the use of Flash storage, based hybrid storage pools within the Sun ZFS Storage 7420 appliance
  • Experienced better performance for approximately the same cost as the legacy, internal disk storage solution
  • Ensured personnel involved in service improvement and games development can access up-to-date reports on social network data, such as players’ frequency of access and what games they play
  • Strengthened data processing capacity and accommodated growth in data volumes by adding servers and storage capacity on demand
  • Delivered the service levels required to track tens of millions of users on an ‘always there’ basis, by leveraging Oracle Solaris features, including built-in, ZFS, end-to-end data integrity
  • Gained comprehensive access to storage usage patterns, including at the individual user, application, and hardware levels
  • Provided a way to quickly and safely update the Oracle Solaris operating system and applications, with minimum downtime for individual operating systems
  • Created data analysis environments to respond to growth in workloads from social network services and new software deployments, which is important after the launch of the new global social gaming platform
  • Satisfied performance needs and development and deployment flexibility through the built-in security functions of the underlying system
  • Prepared to scale and support a surge in game-player data after the GREE Platform release

Why Oracle

GREE implemented the Sun ZFS Storage 7420 appliance because the system delivered higher performance and more flexible expansion than the company’s legacy storage facility, for around the same cost, versus other competitive solutions offered.

GREE’s decision to implement the Sun ZFS Storage 7420 appliance was also influenced by the opportunity to use ZFS with Oracle Solaris 11. “ZFS makes it possible to safely update files on a copy-on-write and transactional basis,” said Ichii. “It’s a file system with extremely developed functions that facilitates the use of snapshots. We’ve used it before, so it was essential to be able to use the ZFS and Solaris combination with the new storage.”

The company installed Oracle Solaris 11 with the new Sun Fire X4170 M2 server (used for log-data analysis), and positioned the MySQL database on ZFS. “Because Oracle Solaris is the operating system in the Sun ZFS Storage 7420 appliance, this configuration makes it possible to operate InfiniBand at the highest speed,” said Ichii.

Implementation Process

In December 2011, the Sun servers, storage, and InfiniBand switches were delivered to GREE. The preparatory work included fitting, attaching cables, and installing the Oracle ZFSSA software. Once this was completed, the company began verifying the new storage infrastructure using actual data.

“We made use of installation services by Oracle Advanced Customer Services on this occasion because we had little knowledge of InfiniBand,” said Ichii. “If we had not done this, it would have taken us twice as long to implement the Oracle infrastructure, due to the large scale of our environment.”