Real World Windows Azure: Interview with Vincent Vergonjeanne, Chief Executive Officer at Kobojo

As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Vincent Vergonjeanne, Chief Executive Officer at Kobojo, about using Windows Azure to host the company’s latest online game, RobotZ. Here’s what he had to say:

MSDN: Can you tell us about Kobojo and the services you offer?

Vergonjeanne: Kobojo is a young software development company that creates online, casual games. Our games are available on Facebook and some mobile phones, and will soon be available on MySpace and other social networking websites.

MSDN: What were the biggest challenges that Kobojo faced prior to adopting Windows Azure?

Vergonjeanne: After the tremendous success of one of our games, the 10-server infrastructure that we had in place was nearly at capacity. We needed a highly scalable infrastructure-one that could quickly scale up to respond to unpredictable demand for online games. Building out our existing on-premises infrastructure posed several challenges. Not only is it difficult for us to predict capacity needs for these types of games, but an on-premises infrastructure would also require ongoing, time-consuming maintenance and would be too expensive.

MSDN: Can you describe how Kobojo is using Windows Azure to help address your need for a scalable infrastructure that requires less maintenance?

Vergonjeanne: After evaluating Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), we decided to host one of our games, RobotZ, on Windows Azure. We use Blob storage in Windows Azure to store game assets, such as images, and the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network to cache game content at strategically placed data centers around the globe.

RobotZ, the latest game developed by Kobojo, is hosted on Windows Azure and takes advantage of the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network.

MSDN: What makes your solution unique?

Vergonjeanne: With only 11 employees, we run very lean operations and employ agile development methods. By using Windows Azure, we can achieve critical levels of scalability without compromising our efficiency. We have a dynamic infrastructure in place that leaves us well-prepared for our future growth and expansion.

MSDN: Are you able to reach new customers since implementing Windows Azure?

Vergonjeanne: Since our founding in 2008, 41 million total users have played Kobojo games and we currently have more than five million active users each month, including 87,000 RobotZ Beta users. With Windows Azure, we know that we can handle growing traffic with high performance as more and more customers play Kobojo games.

MSDN: What kinds of benefits is Kobojo realizing with Windows Azure?

Vergonjeanne: In addition to achieving the scalability we needed to handle potential viral-level traffic, we were able to simplify IT maintenance at the same time. Instead of the hassles and headaches that come with managing and maintaining servers, we put our trust in Microsoft data centers and know that everything just works. Plus, we’re avoiding capital expenses and reducing operational costs. In fact, over a three-year period, we will save more than 65 percent by using Windows Azure, compared to an on-premises, virtualized infrastructure.

Read the full story at: http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=4000008216

To read more Windows Azure customer success stories, visit:  www.windowsazure.com/evidence