Zynga Ramps Up Private Cloud Infrastructure zCloud; Now Stores 1.4 Petabytes Of Data

As mentioned in yesterday’s earnings call, Zynga revealed that the company’s zCloud, its private cloud infrastructure has been scaling significantly in the past year. At the start of 2011, only 20% of Zynga’s daily active users (DAU) were in the zCloud. A year later, nearly 80% of Zynga games’ DAU reside in zCloud, and 20% in the public cloud (powered by AWS). Today the company is revealing additional information about the zCloud and how much data is being transmitted through its infrastructure.

Zynga has been quietly investing in powering up the zCloud over the past few years, explains Allan Leinwand, Zynga’s CTO of Infrastructure. As Leinwand explains, the infrastructure looks, feels, and operates similar to the AWS public cloud, but allows for greater performance, scale and reliability. zCloud physically resides in Zynga’s private datacenters and is designed specifically for social games in terms of availability and performance. And Zynga has created tailored automation tools for large server environments and built custom monitoring and management tools.

As GigaOm reported last year, xCloud was built using Cloud.com’s CloudStack software. And startup RightScale provides a management console for Zynga’s public cloud (powered by AWS) and the private cloud.

Between 2009 and 2011, Zynga says that it doubled down on increasing physical server capacity in order to move games over to the private cloud. For Zynga, this increased not only the ability to scale but also reliability. For social games specifically, zCloud offers 3x the efficiency of standard public cloud infrastructure. For example, games in the public cloud would require three physical servers, zCloud only uses one.

Last year, Zynga began to launch games directly in zCloud instead of in the public cloud. The first new Zynga game to launch in zCloud was CityVille Hometown in June 2011. Since then, every Zynga game has launched in zCloud. For example, CastleVille, which holds the record for the fastest growing Zynga game was launched and scaled in zCloud.

Currently, Zynga stores 1.4 Petabytes of data at any time and has the ability to deploy up to 1,000 servers in a 24 hour period. The company says the power they deployed for zCloud alone during the second half of 2011 could’ve kept 166 international space stations in orbit. 36 billion gifts were gifted during the holiday season in 2011, and Zynga has increased its server capacity by a 100 times over the past year (see infographic below).

For now, Zynga has no plans to eliminate public cloud powered by AWS. But clearly, this infrastructure is being used sparingly.