[MUD-Dev] Re: TECH: Distributed Muds

Derek Snider derek at idirect.com
Fri Apr 20 12:02:11 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

On April 19, 2001 8:58 PM, Brian Hook wrote:
> At 06:42 PM 4/19/01 -0400, Derek Snider wrote:

>> True, it would be rather on the expensive side, but I'd think that
>> games that expect to support 100,000 or more simultaneous paying
>> customers should design around this sort of hardware, no?
> You lose scalability, and price/processor is still ridiculous with
> the high end Sun and SGI enterprise servers.

I don't see how you lose scalability with a system that was
specifically designed to be scalable.  Yes, the price of the hardware
is high, but we're talking about a massive commercial game here.  If
you expect 100,000 simultaneous players, then you must have about
1,000,000 subscribers paying at least $10/month.  I think you can
easily afford it.

> If you design your server architecture such that you're counting on
> features of SMP (shared memory access, assuming reasonably fast
> interprocess communication, etc.), at some point you won't be able
> to add more processors because you hit the architectures max.  And
> you're left with a huge legacy hardware investment that you can't
> get rid of 5 years later.

Well, we were talking about a system with a high maximum (512) or
hopefully no maximum.

A system built to handle 100,000 simultaneous players shouldn't
require all 512 processors.  Maybe it would only require 16 or 32.
Remember, this is a high-end top of the line system, you lose a heck
of a lot of latency by having everything sharing a bus vs.
communicating via a network.  There's lots of room for expansion, and
it's highly doubtful that in five years your old game will require
over ten times the hardware it started out with, unless your game now
has 1,000,000 simlultaneous players, and then you can certainly afford
to upgrade.

> You also lose the flexibility of doing "temporary scalability" by
> temporarily adding more computing resources when you need them.
> Once you buy that 8-CPU board, you're kind of stuck with it and
> won't be using it elsewhere.

If you have a sudden need for resources, it is doubtful that you would
remove those resources when demand goes down -- you know that demand
is likely to return at some point in time, and it's better to have
extra, than to not have enough.

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