This month Yggdrasil announced the completion of the migration of its development, staging and environments onto the Google Cloud Platform in an effort to significantly boost scalability, accelerate development and reduce cost.
After gaining approval by the Gibraltar regulator for the move, the completion of the year-long cloud project has enabled the business to better control costs and scale up or down, as and when needed, with the need for any further hardware investment.
Furthermore, it also enables the online gaming solutions provider to increase the the scalability and efficiency of its games and product software development, including new initiatives such as its GATI (game adoption tools and interface) solution and YG Franchise, with the time take to set up new production environments reduced from weeks to hours.
CasinoBeats talked to the Krzysztof Opalka, chief technology officer at Yggdrasil, about the company’s move into the Google Cloud Platform, being a pioneer in the technology and the security of the Cloud.
CasinoBeats: How important was it for you to secure approval for GCP?
Krzysztof Opalka: One of the main reasons behind our decision to migrate to the Cloud was to increase the consistency of our infrastructure and DevOps processes.
With many different on-premise set ups in different parts of the world our overheads were steadily increasing in order to maintain everything.
To reach full unification we needed to secure approvals from various regulators. The hardest one to obtain was Gibraltar because they clearly state the requirement for local physical set up.
However, we believed in our strategy and engaged into a dialogue with the Gibraltar licensing Authority. After presenting our plans we managed to become the first provider to get exceptional approval.
I want to highlight that we are going to maintain our existing Gibraltar infrastructure at existing levels, and we remain fully committed to Gibraltar as part of our wider business plan.
I am grateful for the trust and I hope it will help us grow the business faster which is in our mutual interest.
CB: You’re one of the first industry suppliers to move to GCP, what made you make this leap into an industry unknown?
KO: The industry has been lazy for far too long. Swedish re-regulation increased margin pressures and igaming companies across the board had to start trying harder and optimising the way they work.
The Cloud forms part of how businesses such as ours manage efficient software development and operational process, so our migration is a key means of staying ahead of our competitors.
Yggdrasil has long track record of industry-first’s so pioneering this move motivated us even more.
CB: In what ways can your move to the GCP boosts scalability, accelerate development and reduce costs?
KO: We have already seen the benefits. On the operational side it’s much easier to scale up and down depending on our needs – we are working to fully automate it so we will be able to handle theoretically unlimited traffic.
Furthermore, it’s easier to run capacity planning now and we don’t need expensive upfront hardware investments!
On the development side, teams are more agile by being able to manage their own environments based on code feature branches.
Additionally, the Cloud comes with several new tools and services which empower engineers to create quick proof-of-concepts and experiment more.
CB: How are you ensuring security considering you’re using a cloud-based service?
KO: Both on-premise and the Cloud come with different security challenges, but if you carry out proper risk assessments and address them, the Cloud can be even more secure than on-premise.
We moved to GCP (Google Cloud Platform) which is the global leader in cloud provision trusted by 60 per cent of Fortune 500 enterprises.
Google also offers many additional services to enhance security and business continuity which we incorporated into our infrastructure. We now feel we are better protected than ever.
CB: How has it been over the last year during your transition?
KO: We were familiar with GCP because we had experimented with it even before the transition. We had a precise and realistic plan and we felt well equipped, so the migration went smoothly.
The first environment was migrated mid last year and then we made gradual transitions one-by-one to make sure we avoided any unpleasant surprises.
Now we can proudly say we successfully managed to set up development, staging and production environments in the cloud.
CB: How can you, as a company, move forward with GCP compared to previously?
KO: We are at the dawn of a ‘platform war’ where all the major providers have ambitions to also become aggregators. The Cloud will increase our competitive edge and puts us in pole position at the front of this race.
We recently launched a new initiative called YG Franchise where the Cloud is a key element to allowing us to set up a new node of DAN (Decentralised Aggregation Network), or new version of our server, within just a few hours.
For game studios we expanded our YG Masters program by offering GATI (Game Adaptation Tools and Interfaces), an agnostic ‘container’ that enables studios to make their game servers independently from us in any technology they want.
And again, topping it up with Cloud possibilities reduced time to market and makes the product more powerful.
CB: How can the industry handle digital transformation and technical challenges better?
KO: Everyone who has been in the business for some time remembers the headache of introducing iframe, CMA popups or adapting to new App Store guidelines.
The industry in general, but especially on the provider side, needs a forum where we can discuss these challenges. By introducing standardisation, we could push the industry forward and offer smoother UX and better player protection.