Five Factors That Make Online Gaming Infrastructure Needs Unique

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Since downtime equals lost revenue, low adoption and damage to reputation, game publishers aim to ensure a reliable game experience by building out their infrastructure with resiliency and high availability in mind.

Building for Resiliency:

  • With a horizontal scaling approach, multiple low-cost servers that are functionally the same are set up to run together using global and local load balancers to route traffic. In the event that one server fails, another automatically picks up the load to prevent downtime. Diversifying these loads across VMs, physical servers, data centers and geographies provides more and more layers of protection against systematic, large-scale outages.

Building for High Availability:

  • Games that are more “fault sensitive,” and that have lower latency requirements such as certain MMOG genres, are often deployed on custom hosting solutions like managed hosting, private cloud or colocation.
  • Platforms are built using higher-end equipment and custom configurations that support faster access to storage and more failover options because they are designed to support the specific application.
  • High-availability infrastructure and service-level guarantees are constructed for global IP routing and switching, back channel device networking, data center or rack-level power distribution, as well as the server and storage hardware itself.

The video game market is estimated to reach $92.5 billion globally by 20141, due, in part, to the velocity of social media and mobile device adoption. As a result, gaming companies are facing complex decisions as they try to build gaming infrastructures that can cost-effectively support this growth while delivering peak performance for players.

The success of an online game depends on a variety of variables, including the target audience and engagement strategy, device platform choice, game play and logic, and monetization and analytics capabilities, to name just a few. However, underlying all of these elements is the IT infrastructure that supports the entire online gaming stack. While a public (or virtualized) cloud may be ideal in some cases, bare-metal cloud servers, managed hosting, private cloud or colocation may be better suited for others. It depends on the type of application, whether it’s a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG), mobile, social, or casual game, as well as the use case, such as new game launches, trailer streaming, testing and development, or massive, on-demand scaling.

Online gaming is a progression of technological advances rather than a particular class of games, and it is important to consider these five key factors, identified by Internap, when building an online game infrastructure.

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[1] “The Video Gaming Industry Outlook 2011.” Business Insights. May 2011.

 

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