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How many servers?

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Hi all, We're looking to rent dedicated game servers for a new multiplayer action game, to which we have already 100,000 subscribers (for a web-based version of the game). I'm interested to know how many servers would you guys think we need to be sufficient for our subscribers, for the new game? I'm not talking necessarily about simultaneous users, but about your recommendation as to how many dedicated servers should we plan on renting to support these users... thanks for any idea!, Lior, NOKs http://www.NOKs.com

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This should be pretty easily answered by looking at your load tests. If the servers start to lag when you have 100 users, then you need 1,000 servers. If they start to lag when you have 1,000 users, then you neeed 100 servers. It's completely dependant on the specific game as to how many servers are needed to host X number of users.

-me

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Hi guys, thanks all, but actuall, I'd like to plan ahead my financing before we rent the servers, instead of doing load tests and then keep growing... I am sure there are some rules of thumb? like - 100,000 subscribers <--> 1 server?

again, thanks VERY much - appreciate it!

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No rules of thumb. 100% dependant on what the servers are (hardware wise) and what the program requires per user. If you have 100,000 users already playing it you know exactly what you need based on that hardware. So if you get hardware about 2x as good you need about 1/2 the servers.

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Thanks, but still I would like some numbers. Let's try that from a different perspective. Perhpas anyone knows how many servers Everquest uses? How many servers his game company used? etc.

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Am I right in saying that you have a web-based version of the game, but the game for which you want servers is not web-based? Otherwise, comparing Everquest to a web-based game isn't too useful. For a website, 100,000 users ranges from "can run on a 486" to "stonking web farm" depending upon the web app, database requirements, concurrent load requirements (a 486, or even my cellphone, can easily handle 138 hits per hour), and so on. (A Dell/MS-funded study recently said that an x64 server running Win2k3/IIS6/Oracle tops out at about 1,300 concurrent users in an e-commerce test suite) For a modern game server, you probably don't want to put the baseline as low as a 486, but again what you need will depend greatly upon usage patterns, how efficient your code is, etc. (bandwidth use may also be an issue to consider).

Everquest and other MMO's don't tend to talk about specifics of their server farms. There was an "engineering Everquest" article around a while ago that said that EQ averages 1 server per 400 subscribers, all running a type of Unix. I don't know how true that is, but it's a number.

Honestly, though, without knowing everything about your code, I may as well say "it ranges from 1 server each to 1 server for everyone".

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Thanks. Actually 400 is a number, and I just found an article to support that - EVE online seems to use the number 500 users/server
http://www.superssd.com/success/ccpgames.htm

so now it comes from 2 sources - not only a number.. almost a fact!
thanks,
Lior

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Apparently you don't get it. As Bracket pointed out, your code effects a lot of things. Your memory footprint etc. You're asking us to tell you what vehicle you need but give us NO idea what you're using it for other then driving. But getting upset when we don't give you the "right" answer your mind wants. Your numbers are not fact, nor close to it; they are fact for those games though. Those guys highly optomized their code, profiled it and tweaked until they got it just right.

If you have 100k subscribers for your application you have number to work with. Give us those and we can help. Throw us a bone here. Ultima Online had like 300 users per server then some guys rewrote it themselves using C# and got it to like 2500 users I think it was. There, that's a new number to add to your fact :)

Mike

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