CCP Games has decided to upgrade some of it’s older server systems on tranquility. CCP Games hosts Dust514 and EVE Online on a Giant super computer system known as tranquility. The cluster is the most powerful MMO gaming cluster in the world (even out shaddowing quite a few super computers along the way!)
The Server’s Names (For the sake of anyone new to the universe.)
Tranquility – (The Main Production Cluster Servers for EVE Online) located in London, England.
Singularity – The Test server used by players and developers to test new possible patches and updates. also located in London, England.
EVE China (Seperate server by a 3rd party for China.)
How a traiditonal MMO handles servers
A tradititonal MMORPG such as Warcraft utilitises Shards. Each “shard” is a blade server controlling transactions for the whole of the in-game world.
How EVE handles servers.
EVE Online runs on a “single shard” with multiple proxies that have different roles and jobs. some clusters are just for transactions, some are just for commuication and others are for NPC AI. CCP scales up clusters on the fly at each maintaince window, this is particuarlly useful if CCP can predict a large battle (it’s a bit like weather forecasting with internet spaceships). The clusters are resized in what could be described as a private cloud cluster.
Thanks to recent information provided by CCP Explorer over twitter, we can start to see why upgrading the current main server blades may be an important step for CCP.
Currently CCP has One IBM Everest U2.
On IBM’s promotional hardware site (Which is being migrated over to Lenovo), states “The IBM System x3650 M3 is a 2U-high, rack-optimized server that features extreme frequency, optimized performance, and systems management for high performance computing workloads built on IBM X-Architecture. The IBM 5454 x3650 M3 Model 12U has a 4.4 GHz processor, 16 GB memory, 6.4 GT/s, SAS/SATA HDD Interface, 2.5-in HDD, 12 MB cache, Open bay, M5015, hot-swap, Multiburner, 2 x 675W power supplies, and U.S. English language support.”
A cluster of HS-21 x5260 @ 3.33 GHz blades, dual-CPU / dual-core. (4 cores per blade)
The overall Cluster’s U12 setup means that there can be capacity for upto 14 blades.
and a IBM Storwize V7000 (for the database systems).
The Processors onboard the HS-21 blades started being manufactored in 2007. It is understandable that CCP would be wanting to upgrade the processors to include Hyper Threading and Turbo Boost to the Processors to ensure better, faster thruput.
A quick history of recent Upgrades
Currently CCP Games has been running the Servers on Windows Server 2008. (According to sources), CCP did upgrade the master database in 2013 to newer IBM Blades. CCP Games has been in a long term partnership with IBM’s Hardware division which is soon to be taken over by Lenovo.
2013’s Project/White Paper can be found over at IBM’s Download Center
In 2013 in the IBM White Paper it was revealled that CCP now uses VmWare vCenter Server to setup instances.
Blade Chasis – Blade Center H (14 blades per Unit) at $4,629.99 per Chasis
Blade Server – IBM BladeCenter HS23 at $2,671.99 per blade/node with 140 blades in production
Storage – IBM Storwize V7000 – refurbished estimate ($14,500.00)
In 2008 CCP Games started using IBM’s PowerUp Arctecture to deploy clusters. CCP did do a trial run of Windows HPC Server 2008 however it seems that the OS wasn’t as stable as Server 2008, CCP did a promotional video with Microsoft.
CCP Explorer announced on the EVE Forums that there are plans to replace TQ’s older hardware.
More servers 🙂 Just this week we were preparing RFPs for new hardware, to replace TQ.
We asked CCP how the RFPs are going, CCP Explorer Responded.
@OliPicard Final CPU selection on Monday, we are down to choosing between v2 and v3 of a particular processor.
— Erlendur (@erlendur) October 25, 2014
How will the servers be deployed?
EVE Online goes offline for 30 minutes every day to do maintance, This has been extended in the past when bigger upgrades have been required such as pushing online a new cluster.
CCP Games is investing alot in new server hardware which should hopefully mean bigger battles can contiune without crashing clusters. In some of the biggest persistant battles players have had to deal with slower server response times as the requests are handled in slower time speeds (which CCP introduced to try and combat cluster crashes and help preformance.) Once we get any more information about the planned upgrade we will be sure to inform you!
CCP is also thinking about the future with the upcoming Project Legion (PC only shooter) and Valkyrie (Oculus VR).