SoftLayer, an IBM company, continues to show strength in the gaming vertical. Last March, the company says it passed the 100 million-player mark for games running on its infrastructure. That number has now surged past 130 million gamers, as SoftLayer continues to enjoy success in the gaming vertical, where customers are being won over by its combination of bare metal servers, global data center footprint, database expertise and solid network.
Two examples of gaming providers hosting with SoftLayer are game hosting provider Multiplay and social game development studio KUULUU. Multiplay hosts servers for popular games like Battlefield 4 and Minecraft, while KUULUU releases games on Facebook and mobile that are tied to popular music acts like Robbie Williams and Linkin Park.
Gaming presents big potential scalability issues. Latency is extremely important, particularly for First Person Shooting (FPS) games where milliseconds count and lag is always the enemy. A game sees a burst of traffic upon launch, and may experience peaks and valleys over the course of its lifetime. Gaming audiences are truly global, meaning this massive, sometimes unpredictable user base needs a truly global network.
Scaling to Support Global Music Acts
KUULUU’s games are tied to big music acts. The company had previously worked with another provider for its Robbie Williams-branded game, but turned to SoftLayer for scale. Linkin Park boasts 55 million fans on Facebook, so the company wanted to insure the game was able to scale with a large, globally distributed fan base.
In September, the company is launching RECHARGE, a third person 3-D online game experience that combines puzzle, adventure and action elements. The game supports Music for Relief Power the World campaign by introducing players to real world clean energy solutions in the game.
“We choose SoftLayer for a variety of reasons,” said Jendrik Poshe, executive producer of KUULUU. “We chose them because of the nice people, the way that they operate with you; they’re open to lots of things that we were needing or asking for.”
The infrastructure SoftLayer provided KUULUU addressed the constant demands of beta testing, launch, daily play, or update downloads, allowing KUULUU to focus on creating games.
Benefits of Bare Metal
KUULUU has most of its infrastructure on bare metal servers. It operates out of two data centers, one in Dallas and the other in Amsterdam. Softlayer handles the synching between them. "A very nice thing about Softlayer is that, although we have our basic infrastructure on bare metal servers, Softlayer gives us the opportunity to add cloud-based servers which you can turn on or off as you’d like,” said Poshe.
SoftLayer’s strength and expertise in MongoDB came into play because it’s one of the main technologies behind the game. The company uses Clustered MongoDB which it can scale up fairly easily, in combination with a Redis server it uses for quick database work.
Multiplay supports approximately 500,000 gamers on SoftLayer’s IaaS platform, hosting some of the most popular game titles like Minecraft, BattleField 4, DayZ, Starbound and Team Fortress 2. At peak traffic, 100,000 concurrent gamers play every night on SoftLayer bare metal servers. With the recently launched Battlefield 4, Multiplay was able to spin up and provision the IT resources required to support 25,000 new users in less than 4 hours.
“Bare metal game servers are the best way to get a truly excellent online gaming experience," said Will Lowther, Business Development Manager for Multiplay. "Utilizing the power of single tenant machines, a Multiplay Game server will always be there, ready for you to start gaming."
“We have been with SoftLayer for almost three years now,: Lowther added. "For Battlefield 4 we chose bare metal cloud solutions, provisioning them in locations all over the globe. With hardcore games the players expect absolutely flawless experience, so we cannot allow any lag times or glitches. By using SoftLayer’s platform coupled with the high-speed network, we give the game fans exactly the experience they want.”