Eve Online from CCP Games is a space simulation massively multiplayer online (MMO) game with over 500,000 subscribers. Each of those is continually generating data, requiring a vast amount of storage.
And the problem was exacerbated when CCP released tie-in shooter Dust 514 for PlayStation 3, as IT director Jón Ingi Thorvaldsson explains.
"We're hosting around 200 servers where we have the main database and all the application servers for Eve Online," he told Computing.
"We added four hosting centres where we lease fully managed servers in four different locations - Australia, Singapore, Amsterdam and Texas," Thorvaldsson continued, before explaining why the extra boost was required.
"Eve Online isn't very latency sensitive so it can actually be run from one location for all players worldwide. But for Dust the battle servers need to be located closer to the players as it's more latency sensitive," he said.
CCP is currently developing a third title, a new MMORPG that requires extensive testing. That's why Internap's Flow Control Platform has been deployed to monitor and analyse network-bound traffic in order to manage bandwidth usage along with network performance and availability.
"We're using Internap as a test facility for our upcoming title World of Darkness," Thorvaldsson explained.
"In these test phases we need to be able to scale up and scale down so we need a lot of flexibility, and Internap has provided us that," he continued, adding that the price and service quality offered by Internap were both important factors in choosing the solution.
With Eve Online now 10 years old, CCP is no stranger to scaling, something Thorvaldsson described as "one of the most important issues the IT team needs to concern themselves with on a daily basis".
"Scalability is one of the prime concerns for running Eve Online as it's unique in the way all the players are playing in a single shard, so it's in one single universe and not split up like so many other MMOs," he said.
June saw one of Eve Online's largest ever battles take place, with 4,000 players involved simultaneously. The amount of data being generated resulted in CCP opting to slow the game down to a tenth of its normal speed as servers worked out who was shooting at who. That, Thorvaldsson explained, was a result of every Eve Online player being in a single universe, but quality is always improving.
"With improvements in technology and the implementation of the system these boundaries are being pushed further each new release," he said.
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