Home Vertica, the Analytics Behind All the Zynga Games

Vertica, the Analytics Behind All the Zynga Games

So you want to buy a tractor? Build a house? Scrabble? So do the more than 62 million other gamers who play Farmville daily. That’s why keeping its communities humming 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and responding to issues in real-time is no game for Zynga.

To get the job done, the company turned to Vertica, which is now owned by HP. Says Ken Rudin, VP of Analytcs at Zynga: “With over 40 million players, 3TB of new data a day and 230 nodes spread across two clusters, Zynga’s columnar data warehouse from Vertica is no analytical windup toy.”

Jacquelyn Gavron is a Brooklyn,
NY-based freelancer who specializes in usability and content for mobile and online apps. Previously, she was Content Manager for Citi Mobile and Executive Editor at PC Magazine. She can be reached at [email protected].

That’s for sure. The moment data hits Vertica, Rudin’s team can observe what’s going on in a game, then optimize the experience as fast as you can say Farmville. If performance dips during spikes in usage, analysts can add nodes on-the-fly– a feature known as “elastic computing”–and remove them just as quickly when activity levels out.

Squeezing BIG Data

As Rudin mentioned, unlike traditional RDBMS systems, Vertica stores data in columns instead of rows. (So do other data warehouses including AsterData and ParAccel).

Data stored in columns can be more tightly compressed – 10:1 in the case of Vertica. “We can reduce 10 terabytes of data to 1 terabyte,” says Mingsheng Hong, Technical Marketing Specialist at Vertica. This can be critical as the size of data sets shifts from terabyte to petabytes.

In addition, Vertica can operate on this compressed data, which improves performance by reducing CPU, memory and disk I/O at processing time, according to the company’s web site. Traditional RDBMS systems, in turn, can’t work with compressed data–it’s got to be extracted first.

Who Would Guess?

Hong also claims that Vertica’s performance is 50x to 100x faster than traditional RDBMS systems. Michael Relich, CIO of Guess Inc., agrees.

“We have 520 stores and buyers go there to check inventory using their iPads,” says Relich. “Batch loads took six to seven hours with Oracle, and data wasn’t ready for buyers in the morning.”

“We looked at a competitive hardware solution but were attracted by commodity (x86) hardware approach,” adds Relich. “Queries that took hours were reduced to minutes. Those that took minutes were reduce to seconds.” As a result, “Guess will be rolling out Vertica to its South Korean operations, says Relich.

Note: Vertica offers an SDK to write custom methods for analyzing data directly in its database.

Other stories of interest:

Teradata Acquires AsterData

HP Acquires Vertica

Business Analytics Predictions from Gartner and Forrester

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.