StarCraft II to Join Warcraft on AT&T Hosting

A screenshot from the long-awaited StarCraft II from Blizzard Entertainment, which will debut on July 27.

Blizzard Entertainment said Tuesday that it will continue to use AT&T’s data centers and network to deliver its World of Warcraft to 11 million gamers. Significantly, AT&T said its expanded agreement with Blizzard will include “current and upcoming games in the company’s popular StarCraft and Diablo universes.”

That means that AT&T will provide the back end for Blizzard’s highly-anticipated StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty virtual world, which launches July 27th. The new game is the sequel to Blizzard’s 1998 hit StarCraft, one of the top real-time strategy games of all time. That might also explain why AT&T and Blizzard announced a new contract less than a year after the companies touted a two-year agreement to power Warcraft’s infrastructure.

Hosting, CDN and Monitoring
The new multimillion dollar multi-year deal expands the 10-year relationship between Blizzard and AT&T, which provides hosting services for Blizzard in North America, as well as content delivery network (CDN services and voice and data for Global Call Center Support.  AT&T will provide around-the-clock monitoring and management of the technology infrastructure that supports Blizzard’s online games.

AT&T supports Blizzard with its Gaming Core Team, a specialized unit formed in 2004 to meet the infrastructure needs of customers’ gaming operations.

“Over the years, AT&T has demonstrated that it understands the needs of our business,” said Paul Sams, Chief Operating Officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “The services and support AT&T provides have helped us to consistently deliver high-quality online-gaming experiences to our players.”

AT&T doesn’t provide a lot of details on Blizzard’s infrastructure. But last fall Blizzard’s Allen Brack and Frank Pearce provided some details at the Game Developer’s Conference in Austin. Here are some data points:

  • Blizzard Online Network Services run in 10 data centers around the world, including facilities in Washington, California, Texas, Massachusetts, France, Germany, Sweden, South Korea, China, and Taiwan.
  • Blizzard uses 20,000 systems and 1.3 petabytes of storage to power its gaming operations.
  • WoW’s infrastructure includes 13,250 server blades, 75,000 CPU cores, and 112.5 terabytes of blade RAM.
  • The Blizzard network is managed by a staff of 68 people.
  • The company’s gaming infrastructure is monitored from a global network operating center (GNOC), which like many NOCs, features televisions tuned to the weather stations to track potential uptime threats across its data center footprint.

AT&T’s 36 Internet Data Centers offer more than 2 million square feet of secure hosting facilities around the globe.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large 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.

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  1. Thanks for the post. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to more in the future.