Company photo
user

30 million

unique users in 2021

 

player

52K online gamers

at the same instance

 

database

Global datacentre presence

France, Canada, Singapore

The background

In partnership with OVHcloud, Ziax’s flagship game CubeCraft Games enjoys low latency and DDoS protection – even as the gaming industry grew by 23% in 2020 alone and continues to be a prime target for cybercriminals.

Ziax is made up of an expert team of UK developers and designers delivering physical and virtual experiences in official partnership with Microsoft. Founded in 2012, they run a Minecraft multiplayer server called CubeCraft Games that had 30 million unique users in 2021 joining from all over the world.

With such a global presence – across the US, LATAM, APAC and EMEA – Ziax needs around the clock server connectivity and scalability options as well as DDoS mitigation. OVHcloud has accompanied Ziax on its growth journey since 2015, helping them to continually scale and provide users with the best possible customer experience.    

The challenge

To facilitate their ambitious growth, Ziax needed to find an IT partner that could meet their needs in terms of affordability, security, and scalability. When choosing a provider, they struggled to find any that could compete with OVHcloud on price while still providing the same level of services at a global scale.

One of Ziax’s key priorities is to offer a seamless user experience. Their users are very sensitive to interruptions or disturbances to game play and any lag, latency or long wait times to join a session could cause them to leave and play elsewhere. Server connectivity is an indicator the gamers see when selecting a server to join and, with an average of 50,000 players joining every hour, this stage of the user experience is critical to retention and satisfaction.

Security has always been an important factor for online gaming platforms, and this is an ever-increasing threat – particularly in conjunction with the gaming boom during the onset of the pandemic. The gaming industry is a prime target for cyber criminals and faced the highest growth in cyber-attacks during the pandemic with a 340% YoY increase in DDoS attacks in 2020 alone. This makes security a constant need for any gaming platform, with Ziax being no exception.

ziax diagram

The solution

Over the years, Ziax has grown and adapted its suite of OVHcloud services which now comprises:

  • Bare Metal Cloud 
  • Public Cloud 
  • vRack 
  • VPS  
  • FO IP’s 
  • OVH VAC (and Firewall) 
  • OVH API 

The flexibility of OVHcloud’s product suite enables Ziax to turn services on and off as they need them – and as users around the world go to sleep or get home from school.

vRack technology enables Ziax to transfer players across regions to ensure they always have enough users to interact with. If, for example, a player logs on at 4am in Singapore, there will be a lower number of other users online in that area. Thanks to OVHcloud’s global presence, Ziax is able to transfer them over to the server in France, for example, so that the quality of their user experience is not impeded. A local alternative could see the user waiting 10-15 minutes to join a sparsely populated game.

The provision of public cloud servers help Ziax to instantly scale as needed, coinciding with peak times such as before and after school hours. Being able to automate this process through OpenStack APIs keeps it as streamlined and straightforward as possible.

The recent pandemic once again demonstrated the need for fast reactions and extra capacity, as the entire industry skyrocketed overnight. During the middle of March 2020, the number of CubeCraft Games users soared and, thanks to OVHcloud’s solutions, Ziax was able to accommodate the increased demand by scaling its offering in the blink of an eye.

Daily player counts rose from less than 15k in February 2020 to 20k from March through to July where it then reached a peak at almost 35,000 players. This shows that growth was not only significant but consistent – meaning that Ziax had to adapt to the changes and maintain the new status quo.

They had new servers up and running in under an hour, including server delivery and set-up, leaving their team to focus on the launch and installation of new operating systems. Further, by scaling their bare metal fleet, they were able to monitor their cloud usage, evaluate the price/performance ratio and purchase more bare metal servers if needed.

With OVHcloud’s anti-DDoS solution, Ziax has around-the-clock protection against all types of attacks, with regular status reports and health checks sent directly to the team.

As an online game that’s played in real time, addressing latency is very important to us. OVHcloud’s worldwide server network means that players anywhere can connect without the need to tap into local servers.

(Marco Slater, Infrastructure Director, Ziax)

The result

  • Ziax is going from strength to strength, with a concurrent online player peak of 52,226 users and counting.
  • CubeCraft Games boasts a high rate of player retention thanks to its ability to guarantee little to no delays when accessing the game, as well as a seamless and intuitive gaming experience.  
  • Ziax has not experienced a single DDoS-induced outage since 2016, with the only indication that attempts are being made coming from OVHcloud’s attack notifications.
  • OVHcloud has allowed Ziax to expand its multiplayer platforms to regions such as Canada and Singapore without compromising on user experience.

Thanks to the comprehensive OVHcloud product suite, Ziax’s team is able to focus on what matters most – making the best possible gaming experience for their community.

OVHcloud’s DDoS mitigation is broadly unparalleled. The only reason I know attackers are out to get us is because I get a couple of notification emails each day confirming the protection is working. Fantastic.

(Marco Slater, Infrastructure Director, Ziax)