Badgeville has quickly established itself as the gold standard for gamification, the use of game techniques to drive higher customer engagement and brand loyalty. The Badgeville Behavior Platform is now used by hundreds of Fortune 1000 enterprises and innovation leaders—including Dell, Samsung, NBC, eBay, Footlocker, Barnes & Noble, to name just a few—to measure, analyze, and influence customer behavior.
Badgeville customers build interactive games and other engaging apto produce an enjoyable and memorable customer experience. For Badgeville developers, however, creating the applications that deliver those capabilities is not necessarily fun and games. Dealing with the complexities of building, testing, maintaining, and supporting multiple environments is a difficult job. Add to that the complications of configuring and managing the infrastructure to run those applications, and you have a serious technical challenge.
Badgeville was looking for a way to offload some of the operational requirements of deploying and maintaining the company’s core applications—so developers could focus on what’s most important to the business (and most fun for them): building innovative, engaging, feature-rich products.
Badgeville selected Engine Yard Cloud for the deployment and management of its applications. By doing so, the company wanted to cut operations costs, free up its development teams from non-differentiating operational activities, and slash time-to-market for new product features. Badgeville got all that and more.
What gave Badgeville the confidence to make the move to a cloud-based Platform as a Service (PaaS)? “Feeling the pain of many years of experience,” said Badgeville CTO Wedge Martin. “I’ve done a lot of datacenter build-outs and operations, and I know what’s involved. We had to ask ourselves, ‘how are we going to run our services and where?’ Engine Yard Cloud simply made sense, because it provides all the automation for configuration, deployment, and so on. Instead of hiring 3-5 system administrators to build, monitor, and manage internal systems and application deployment, we can let the experts at Engine Yard handle all that and dedicate our engineering team to developing key functionality for our products.”
Engine Yard Cloud provides a pre-integrated, pre-tested Ruby on Rails technology stack, including databases, web and application servers, built-in monitoring and process management, a Rails-optimized Linux distribution, in-memory caches and more. It supports a wide range of applications, from small-scale apthat run within a single compute instance, to large-scale enterprise applications that require high levels of reliability, elasticity and performance.
Wedge pointed to several specific features as evidence of the Engine Yard Cloud advantage. “The cloning environments are awesome,” he said. “One click and you can clone your full production environment—even if your ais running across multiple instances and multiple databases. We also like the snapshotting capability; we like the fact that we can organically grow the front end; and we can bring up aservers easily. We’ve also added a higher level of fault tolerance by deploying in a hybrid cloud environment and Engine Yard has supported us every step of the way.”
Wedge said Engine Yard Cloud was also helpful in accelerating prototyping and getting new features to market faster. “We now have the ability to create an environment without databases,” he said, “And we can add a database read replica with a mouse click. We can scale out by adding more replicas, so now we can perform very complex analytics without bogging down performance.”
Badgeville is also very pleased with its experience with New Relic, an Engine Yard Add-Ons partner that specializes in web aperformance analysis and integrates with applications directly through the Engine Yard dashboard. New Relic provides visibility into performance from the end user experience, through servers, and down to the line of application code. “We use the full feature set of New Relic,” Wedge explained. “We use their availability reporting, performance graphs, everything. It’s great for really fine-tuning our apfor performance, and it gives us a clear view of the underlying problem when we’re troubleshooting issues.”
According to Wedge, the move to Engine Yard Cloud immediately and dramatically improved efficiency and cut costs. “Engine Yard gave us the scalability and reliability we needed without investing scarce technical resources in infrastructure,” he said. “We saved at least 40 percent on operations costs, and we can scale up and down as needed without buying and configuring and managing a whole lot of hardware.”
Perhaan even bigger impact from a business perspective is that Badgeville developers can now spend their time and energy on what matters most: creating the features, functions, and innovations that deliver competitive advantages.
“When I was doing automation and code deployment wrappers myself, there would be a bug and five minutes of downtime during code push. That’s five minutes I’m doing nothing to differentiate this company’s products,” said Wedge. “Multiply that times all the bugs, all the patching, all the eTag cache optimization, and you can see you’re talking about a huge sinkhole of time and effort. Why do all that if you don’t absolutely have to?”
High availability is a key requirement for keeping Badgeville customers happy. Wedge described how the Engine Yard PaaS ensures maximum uptime. “The Engine Yard implementation of Linux HA is very well thought out, and we’ve seen amazing resilience with the fail over process for our amaster. Master takeovers occur within seconds, and we’ve yet to see one fail.”
Wedge believes the support from Engine Yard and the personal relationship he’s developed with the Engine Yard team have been instrumental in his company’s success. “It would be difficult to say that we would be where we are today without Engine Yard,” he said. “The amount of time that we save in handling our deployments and building out and testing various environments, together with the superb support from the Engine Yard team, has certainly allowed our developers to be more nimble, so we can cut costs and deliver our products to market faster.”