Disney Interactive Media Group (DIMG), the interactive entertainment affiliate of The Walt Disney Company, creates immersive, connected, interactive experiences used by millions of people every day across console gaming, online, mobile, and social networking platforms. Because of the diversity of interactive media platforms and the number of operating groups, almost every game and content site managed its data storage independently. Looking to reduce time-to-market, DIMG developed a common platform for data storage and processing. Using MongoDB, Disney was able to build a scalable platform that all gaming divisions could leverage, supported by a single, centralized team.
With this common platform, Disney’s developers were able to focus on game play rather than back-end architecture. Encouraged by the success of the gaming platform, Disney now plans to use the same platform for applications outside of the gaming division.
Prior to adopting MongoDB, individual game teams were forced to create a data management layer and data model for each new game. Game developers were asked to go beyond their core competencies in developing highly available and scalable data management solutions, rather than focusing on building the best possible games.
Since each group wrote, managed, and maintained their own data layer, each group had to tackle the inevitable scalability and availability concerns once their games were in production. This led to complex and redundant code and maintenance efforts across the various game divisions. In addition, the existing MySQL architecture struggled to keep up with performance and scalability requirements.
In light of these challenges, DIMG launched a centralized data management platform team to deliver scalable, reliable, and reusable data services to the game development groups. DIMG leverages MongoDB as a multi-tenant, highly scalable common object repository to support new games and applications. The new enterprise-grade platform enables continuous integration across the development, staging, and production environments.
To build a common platform, Disney needed schema flexibility. Disney can’t predict which games will become popular, or when new features will be required to meet demand from users. MongoDB's flexible document model allows Disney's developers to evolve their data model along with the growth and development of their games, without requiring costly downtime or coordination with the back-end team. This allows for greater agility and faster iteration during game development.
Replication & Auto-Sharding
MongoDB met Disney’s high uptime requirements with out-of-the-box automated failover through replica sets. Replica sets automatically failover to a new primary when trouble is detected, without human intervention. Similarly, the team can distribute writes using auto-sharding, adding new machines without any downtime. MongoDB's support for sharding and replication allow DIMG's operations team to proactively scale their data store and accommodate growth with a single, centralized platform.
The ecosystem around MongoDB impressed Disney. The size and scope of the growing community around MongoDB, coupled with high-quality commercial support from 10gen, made MongoDB an obvious choice.
Ultimately, the MongoDB-based gaming platform gave Disney developers the freedom to focus on game play rather than the storage layer. The developers have greater control over the features of their games, with the ability to run performance tests or modify the schema as needed.
Disney's operations team rests easily knowing that MongoDB's scaling features help insulate them from common hardware failures and network troubles, and has significantly reduced the burden for on-call administrators.