MMO Game Host Deploys 1,000 Blade Servers

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Multiplayer online game host Online Game Services Inc. (OGSi) has deployed more than 1,000 IBM BladeCenter servers at 365 Main’s flagship data center in San Francisco, the companies announced today. OGSi, the gaming channel of managed services provider Global Netoptex Inc. (GNi), says it already has more than 1 million users, with clients including (GoPets Ltd.) and Ping0 LLC, which will distribute the online component to Hellgate: London.

OGSi has invested over five years and more than $20 million in its network infrastructure. The servers installed at 365 Main include a mix of IBM LS20 (AMD-based), HS20 and HS21 (Intel-based), and JS20 (PowerPC-based) blades, and represent the single largest deployment of IBM blade servers in the digital entertainment industry, according to OGSi. The company says it expects to have more than 3,500 blade servers operational by the end of 2007.

“Our on-demand ‘pay-as-you-grow’ game hosting business model is based around a dense hosting environment that requires advanced, modern data centers like 365 Main’s,” said James Hursthouse, CEO and owner of OGSi. “We chose 365 Main because it offers world-class power, connectivity, cooling and security, which together allow us to provide our customers with the finest hosting infrastructure available to power their games.”

Online Game Services Inc. launched in June 2004, and is providing online game companies with fully managed dedicated game hosting services, eliminating the need for MMORPG operators to spend millions of dollars on web infrastructure. “It’s a drastic reduction in risk and cost,” said Hursthouse, who said the MMO sector is growing quickly due to the success of World of Warcraft and strong media interest in Second Life. “There definitely has been a paradigm shift. Right now there aren’t many publishers that aren’t looking at MMOs.”


The breadth and density of the OGSi installation earned high marks from both 365 Main and IBM.

“Some of the densest server deployments in the world are already at our facilities, and OGSi brings us our densest deployment yet,” said Chris Dolan, president and CEO of 365 Main. “We enjoy working with fast-growing companies that are leading their industries, and OGSi certainly falls into that category. Adding such a high-profile customer to our client list is yet another validation that our data centers are truly the best in the world.”

“Gaming demands extremely powerful and dynamic back-end computing environments, and the scale of this deployment is a testament to the force of IBM’s BladeCenter portfolio,” said David Laux, IBM global executive, games and interactive entertainment. “This environment really creates a win-win-win situation for IBM, OGSI and the game developer by giving the developer/operator access to industry-leading technology in a model that substantially reduces the risk of trying to build it on its own.”

Derek Wise, President and CEO of Global Netoptex, says OGSi plans to expand to create a geographically diverse network of gaming hubs. “We have plans to deploy seven installations of 1,000 servers each throughout the world,” said Wise, who said 365 Main data centers in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Northern Virginia are likely to host some of those installations.

The OGSi model was initally designed to make MMORPG deployment affordable for small to medium sized publishers, but has ambitions beyond that niche. “Because of the way we’ve implemented the infrastructure, we’re finding some of the larger companies do the (financial) math and are quite interested,” said Hursthouse. “So we actually have a broad range of clients.”

365 Main began with a single data center in San Francisco in 2003 and recently expanded to Los Angeles, Phoenix and Northern Virginia. In each data center the company leases real estate to dedicated hosting providers and large enterprises such as Charles Schwab, Sun Microsystems and Esurance. 365 Main now has nearly one million square feet under management nationwide.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.