SeaMicro Powers Massive LAN Party on Wheels


The interior of the Firefall Mobile Gaming Unit (MGU), a 48-foot bus packed with 20 high-end gaming stations. (Photo: Red 5 Studios)

Call it the world’s most advanced LAN party on wheels. The Firefall Mobile Gaming Unit (MGU) is a 48-foot bus packed with 20 high-end AMD gaming stations, which can support LANs of up to 3,000 people and connect gamers  from any location to millions of others around the world. It’s an achievement that requires packing a lot of server power into a small space.

The solutions was the AMD SeaMicro M10000-XE Server, which packs 256 CPU cores into a 10U chassis. Red 5 Studios, the maker of Firefall, has deployed the SM10000-XE to power the MGU. SeaMicro says the server uses half the power and a third of the space of equivalent computing power in competing rackmount units. It also simplifies installation, management and maintenance by removing the need for top of rack switches, terminal servers and networking devices.

“The mobile gaming unit would not have been possible without AMD’s SeaMicro server,”  said Mark Kern, CEO of Red 5 Studios. “It allowed us to install a data center into a closet on a bus, yet achieve performance equal to one of ‘World of Warcraft’s’ original data centers. We found AMD’s SeaMicro technology to be far ahead of the competition with a combination of high performance, low energy use, scalable storage and small footprint. The new server brings us much closer to achieving our vision.”

The SeaMicro x86 servers allowed the Red 5 Studios team to focus on creating an experience that was worthy of the company’s vision rather than having to constantly tweak and optimize its code so that it would work well. The gaming application is built using kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) technology. It is delivered and managed using OpenStack.

Firefall, an upcoming free-to-play MMO shooter, is set in a science fiction universe 200 years in the future. The MGU allows Red 5 Studios to bring the FireFall experience to fans around the country.

“Power and space requirements exist in every industry,” said Andrew Feldman, corporate vice president and general manager, Server Business Unit, AMD. “With an AMD SeaMicro server, Red 5 Studios was able to shrink what would normally take many racks of compute into a suitcase-size container that could easily be transported. We’re excited to help Red 5 Studios redefine the gaming experience and create a mobile gaming center on demand for its fans.”

Here’s an exterior view of the MGU:


(Photo: Red 5 Studios)

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About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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