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Kindred: A Next-Generation Gaming Platform Powered by CockroachDB

Quick Look

Kindred is deploying CockroachDB to deliver super low latency and localized data handling.

Industry

Gaming

CUSTOMERS

20M

Kindred is one of the world’s leading gaming companies, with more financial transactions per year than household names like PayPal. To provide their globally distributed users low end-to-end latencies––requisite for playing in real time––while complying with regulations in a vast number of markets, Kindred needed a database they could deploy anywhere in the world that could also automate regulatory compliance.

Kindred began evaluating CockroachDB when investigating options for their next generation of infrastructure. Because of the immense benefit the database provided, Kindred became Cockroach Labs’ first design partner, making significant contributions to the technologies that make CockroachDB a powerful choice for global businesses.

Kindred is now developing their most critical applications to use CockroachDB, including their customer wallet. By leveraging the geo-partitioning feature available as of CockroachDB 2.0 (for which they were a design partner), Kindred will be able to keep data close to users wherever they may be, which makes regulation compliance simple while also providing the latency their users need to play in real-time.

As Kindred continues to grow fast and globally it was apparent that we needed a new database approach, one that supported a global data architecture. We are excited and proud to partner with Cockroach Labs to address and solve the challenges associated with serving many millions of globally distributed customers in realtime.

CockroachDB is becoming the rock-solid foundation for our next generation of infrastructure.

— Marcus Smedman, CTO at Kindred Group, Plc.

Challenges

In 2014, Kindred realized that the next phase of their business required becoming a fully global operation. This would not only open new markets to them, but could also keep data close to users, providing huge gains in terms of latency and regulatory compliance. Global expansion, though, would require doing things in a different way.

Kindred’s most critical applications, including player profiles and their wallets, rely on a set of consistent data being readily available. Managing this data was with everything running out of a single datacenter, but the global service they envisioned required the same consistency of data at scale. To achieve their goal, Kindred realized they needed to develop next-generation, cloud-native architecture.

However, the size and scale of their operations meant that this wasn’t going to be simple. Processing an immense volume of financial transactions––over 6 billion per year––meant that the architecture needed to offer world-class resilience in the face of hardware and network failures. Their internal ecosystem of over 200 microservices meant that architecture needed to be flexible and almost entirely autonomous. And, if that weren’t challenge enough, working in a highly regulated industry meant that applications needed to comply with many different sets of laws without adding complex application-level logic.

With an understanding that flexibility and automation would provide their developers the resources they needed and their customers the experience they wanted, Kindred began evaluating solutions.

They knew that cloud-based services were not an option because of the lack of control it offered them with controlling where their data lived without requiring complex, application-level sharding. On-prem solutions were also costly and required substantial upfront investment, both in time spent integrating the service as well as licensing.

Design Partnership

During the evaluations, Kindred discovered CockroachDB. Even though the product was still in beta at the time, Kindred immediately saw how the database’s simple operations, scalability, and consistency could enable the global data architecture they envisioned.

To make the tool even more well suited for them, Kindred reached out about the possibility of developing a feature that could enforce data domiciling. To achieve this, CockroachDB’s engineers built upon table-level partitioning and extend it to individual rows. By simply identifying which a user’s country of origin, their data could be pinned within that country’s borders.

With increasingly strict data privacy laws being implemented in Europe and throughout the world, Kindred realized that a database with the ability to automatically partition data geographically was actually an essential requirement for their database.

Solution

After years of collaboration, Kindred’s first use case for CockroachDB is a significant rebuilding of their customer wallet––the mission critical financial tool that all users play against. This service requires high availability, low latency, strong consistency, and the flexibility to comply with complex gaming regulations.

With CockroachDB, Kindred can meet all of these requirements: on top of multi-active availability, serializable isolation, they also leverage geo-replication to keep data close to user, complying with data privacy laws and keeping latencies low.

Because of its simplicity of operations, even when spread across datacenters, Kindred will also offer CockroachDB as the recommended relational database for all applications built on their infrastructure.

Up Next

Though still in active development, Kindred’s deployments of CockroachDB will power their globe-spanning, critical applications with the benefit of simplified regulatory compliance, enabled hybrid-cloud deployment, and eliminated complexity when dealing with service disruptions––all of which will contribute to reduced operational costs.

CockroachDB will run in many Kindred deployments, the first of which will be on-prem with more than 9 nodes. Because of CockroachDB’s simple deployments, they’re also investing in push-button deployments for all of their teams.

Cockroach Labs is excited to power Kindred’s next-generation architecture.