CATEGORY: Data administration, management, modeling and database performance.
REVIEWER: Joe Bai, CIO and VP of Technology for WorldWinner, Inc.
BACKGROUND: Based in Newton, Mass-achusetts, WorldWinner is the leading provider of online competitive games for cash and prizes. WorldWinner operates its own Web site and is a partner to some of the largest game sites on the Internet including Yahoo!, Lycos, EA.com/Pogo and Shockwave.com. Through its Web site and its partner Web sites, WorldWinner facilitates more than 10 million skill-based tournaments and awards millions of dollars in prizes every month.
PLATFORMS: WorldWinner uses mValent IAS to support development and deployment in Pearl, on Linux and Apache Web servers and Pearl Mason.
PROBLEM SOLVED: As an online business, WorldWinner relies on its applications, Web infrastructure and overall IT environment to generate revenue and keep the business running. Despite the importance of the infrastructure, we had only two IT environments - one for production and one for staging. The development and ongoing support of our online business was fraught with challenges. New features did not run correctly when moved from the development environment to the production environment. Any application downtime resulted in lost revenue, unhappy customers and overall bad business. Once we turned to mValent IAS for automating configuration files for both our development and deployment, we were able to add more sophistication to our activities while also improving stability. With mValent IAS, we can now synchronize development environments with deployment environments, providing a more efficient and effective way to offer our customers new features and games.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: mValent IAS enables our team to collect, categorize and identify issues with inconsistencies in varying configuration environments. With one elegant function, it enables us to keep pace with a rapid rate of change. mValent's IAS offers us the benefit of parallel development - which lets us make more efficient use of our IT resources - without the risks of unstable Web applications.
STRENGTHS: We are a dynamic business, required to support multiple platforms for varying infrastructure solutions. Making small changes in these "living" environments is of great import; with hundreds of thousands of variables, the smallest "unnoticed" change can bring the business to its knees. mValent gives us a high level of confidence in our applications.
WEAKNESSES: mValent IAS empowers the user to manage the many variables across configuration files. This level of granularity means that the users need to be senior domain specialists to gain maximum advantage from the technology. To address this issue, mValent has built domain-specific enablers to simplify and bring best practices to managing the interrelated configurations and to automate many of the repetitive processes.
SELECTION CRITERIA: mValent IAS was not a typical IT purchase. There was no RFP, shoot-out or competitive testing. This is a very new, evolving market, and many sophisticated infrastructure managers do not yet realize there are automated tools to solve these problems. We quickly realized the benefit mValent IAS could bring to WorldWinner. Purchasing and deploying mValent IAS was the proverbial "no brainer."
DELIVERABLES: The most significant deliverable we get from mValent IAS is application and infrastructure uptime. With mValent IAS, we've significantly increased our application uptime and expect to achieve 99.999 percent uptime shortly. This benefit cannot be underestimated. Additionally, with mValent providing confidence in our infrastructure, we have been able to grow the business without adding IT resources. Overall, it ensures that the business applications are stable, while also lowering costs and giving us greater operational efficiencies.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Not only has mValent provided excellent technical support professionals who know mValent IAS and also understand the online entertainment market, but they have also developed a tool that is easily customized. Because no two infrastructure environments are the same, the ability to adapt mValent IAS to specific needs is vital to the successful implementation of the solution.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation provided everything we needed to get started. It has proven to be very effective in supporting the infrequent user and is structured as a strong reference for the advanced user.
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