Windows Azure SQL Database Marketplace
part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Craig Osborne,
Principal Program Manager on the Windows Gaming Experience team at Microsoft, about
using the Windows Azure platform to support the enhanced gaming
experience in the next version of Bing Games. Here's what he had to say:
MSDN: Tell us about the Windows
Gaming Experience team at Microsoft.
Osborne: At Microsoft, it's not all
about work. We are invested in the entertainment industry and we deliver
multiple gaming platforms to millions of casual gaming enthusiasts. The Windows Gaming Experience team has a mission to create new experiences
for casual gamers in the next version of the Bing search engine and integrate
Microsoft games with social-networking sites.
MSDN: What were the biggest
challenges that you faced prior to implementing the Windows Azure platform?
Osborne: When we started creating new
services to enhance the gaming experience, scalability was at the top of our
minds. Social games have the potential to go viral and
attract millions of users in a short period of time, so we needed an agile infrastructure
that could scale up quickly in the case of unpredictable, high-volume growth.
We also had to develop the game-related services in less than five months-in time
for the June release of the next version of Bing.
MSDN: Can you describe the
solution you built with Windows Azure to address your need for a highly scalable
Osborne: We built nine services to
support enhanced gaming experiences and host them on Windows Azure. There are three services that host the front-end web portals where
gamers can access games and six gaming-related back-end services. The gaming
services manage scores, preferences, and settings; gaming binaries and
metadata; social gaming components; security token services to validate user
authenticity; and social services, such as the ability to publish high scores
to Facebook. We also use Microsoft SQL Azure databases to store game data and metadata. In order to deliver a
consistent, high-performance service to users worldwide, we also use the Windows
Azure Content Delivery Network to store assets for the Flash-based games.
The Game Hub feature displays
the social components of the gaming experience, such as leader board
information, gamers' favorite games, and social-networking feeds.
MSDN: What makes your solution
Osborne: We were working with an aggressive
schedule that initially seemed impossible. Realistically, it would have taken a
year to build a traditional infrastructure to handle peak traffic and millions
of concurrent users. We would have been lucky to even have machines racked by
the time we wanted to launch our services. However, by using the Windows Azure
platform, we exceeded our goal and delivered the services in three months and
MSDN: What kinds of benefits
are you realizing with Windows Azure?
addition to developing the solution in record time, we are confident that we
have the scalability we need to address demand. At
launch, we handled nearly 2 million concurrent users, but at the same time, we have
compute and storage resources in reserve that will allow us to scale up to
support at least five times the number of concurrent users, and the
infrastructure can easily scale up to support tens of millions of users. Point
blank, there is no way we could have built these services in the timeframe we
had to work with by using anything other than Windows Azure.
the full story at: http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=4000008310
more Windows Azure customer success stories, visit: www.windowsazure.com/evidence