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Need help setting a gaming server

Last response: in Networking
January 4, 2013 1:46:18 AM

hello :)  :) 

I have a good background about networking,but i am not a trained professional.
I need some advice from proffesionals.
I want to get the best networking hardware for a mmo gaming server that will hold 1000 to 5000 players.
I am not talking about scaling or how many devices i need,i can handle that.
I am talking about which hardware to buy and what config. i should use.
I want to use cisco stuff!
I dont want the very complicated setup,i want my setup to be simple secure and efficient.
The setup will be at home no VPS or hosted servers.
Should I get a leased line or a normal FTTx connection.

Waiting for the answer... :bounce:  :bounce: 


More about : setting gaming server

January 4, 2013 3:25:29 AM

what game or games?
January 4, 2013 3:32:10 AM

more specifically, how much bandwidth is going to be required per player (average), and how many servers are going to be required to support that kind of load?

this will matter for your internet connection and also for your hardware.
Related resources
January 4, 2013 3:59:10 AM

the game require approximately 37 Kilo Bytes per second Download and Upload
This is mentioned in the wiki of the server coders
January 4, 2013 4:32:02 AM

I read a bit from your other thread in the server section. Now I'm not an expert at setting up game servers, but I can definitely tell you that running a huge load of connections is going to be much more cost effective to spread over several more "standard" physical servers than a single ungodly expensive server. This works out to better load balancing and also has less risk of down time due to a single server failing versus having many running that can take over if one fails.

First off, running a full fledged hosted service, which is what you are talking about doing here to run between 1000 and 5000 users, is not something you can really do out of your home. There are several reasons. First, broadband offerings. Many internet connection providers are not going to even offer the type of network connections you need to provide the type of service in a residential area. You will need not one but two high-bandwidth and high-availability lines from your ISP in case one network connection fails. If you are going to support up to 5000 players simultaneously, each requiring 37 kB MINIMUM of download/upload, that works out to needing more than 180 MegaBytes per second of download AND upload. This means you pretty much need a direct fiber connection coming directly from your ISP and prepare to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in internet hosting speeds alone.

One or two physical servers hosting a service would not really require having a 10Gbe backbone to run as you only have a couple computers and no internal LAN that must contend with a massive transfer of data, it's all connecting out to the WAN really. However, the more likely situation is you're looking at multiple physical machines all doing load balancing a percentage of that overall demand. The number and types of switches needed are going to depend on the number of servers required.

Enterprise firewalls. With a hosting service, especially where you have a lot of outside gamers connecting regularly, you're going to have to consider the security of your systems and something that can handle a huge amount of throughput and customizable security configuration, so expect to pay a LOT for something top of the line or you are going to severely handicap your network throughput at your internet gateway.

The next big reason why hosting this from your house may not be possible is power. Calculating up the power draw necessary to run all the servers, switches, and other network hardware is going to be much more than the electrical capabilities of almost any home. You also have to keep in mind that all these servers will need UPS systems to keep them protected from power fluctuations and deliver constant power up-time in the event of power failure. All network equipment also has to be protected by UPS systems.

And cooling. All of this equipment is going to have to be very closely monitored for keeping within a good operating temperature and environment. This means redundant power sources and redundant cooling. Our local hospital had some MAJOR issues a couple years ago when the air conditioning to their server systems got cut off. Within an hour the room had risen to over 95 degrees and servers were failing. They lost at least one hard drive from all ten of their servers and had many other failures that occurred all from one hour without air conditioning.
January 4, 2013 5:05:30 AM


You actually posted very useful information.
I dont really think that internet would cost that much.
in kanssas city us google provide 1GB internet bandwidth FTTH with 5ms ping unlimited traffic for 70$ per month ,i dont think 180 MBps would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars
i cant afford a building for the server and cant afford the power consumption of "standard" physical servers
i want to use the Tesla Gpus they really boost the computation to the top
The fastest super computer in the world uses nvidia gpus
doesnt mean i am building a super computer lol
i want to pay much for hardware less for power

Reading through your post made me worried about security and cooling
and an important question came to me...
am i able to create a strong security system with my basic knowledge of security!

I would be thankful if you provided me some detailes about server cooling and its problems and how to avoid them
January 4, 2013 6:23:10 AM

here's the thing, does the game server software work on gpu's? not every bit of software can just "work" on a cluster of gpu's. That super computer working on gpu's has custom software written to run that way. also, not all types of processing require gpu's to run.

SO, assuming everything *works*, expect EACH machine to be blowing at least 90-100 degree Farenheit air out the back when under load. Depending on how many CFM each fan from each machine blows, it can get quite hot, quite quick.
January 4, 2013 1:06:48 PM

Internet is going to be more expensive than you think. Yes, in Kansas City (and for the next several years too ONLY in Kansas City) you can get a 1 GB network connection from Google Fiber, but it's also not really considered a dedicated line so there's not going to be a SLA on it like a true business line as necessary for the type of demands you are looking for.

Our local internet provider here in my town doesn't even have a full 180 MB/s dedicated line from their Tier 1 provider, and they provide internet to the entire town. The library that I work at just started a new 10 Mb/s dedicated fiber connection and the average cost for that is $1,500 per month. Comparing cost of some consumer and small business options like Uverse (which has a higher download than upload speed) and a true dedicated connection is quite a bit different and a lot of it comes down to service level and SLA.

As bdubs85 pointed out, just because you can put a whole bunch of GPUs in a computer doesn't mean your software can actually utilize it. Most of the times the only software that is capable of doing that is highly customized and generally going to be CAD, imaging, or high precision calculations like protein folding and mapping. I would bet that the software encoding for running game connections has not been optimized to utilize the GPU really. It's a little different type of server load and I don't think would be well suited for the continuous string calculations that are best performed with a GPU.

The major problem lies in the scale by which you are covering here. There's a big difference between 1000 and 5000 connections. Obviously it's going to be more feasible handling 1000 connections from a smaller group of servers which will require less networking hardware, less power, less cooling, and less internet bandwidth.

If this was a setup of a few servers for handling game server connections with a few friends then I'd say that the network configuration and security probably wouldn't be too big of a task. However, with the load you are talking about security is going to be pretty important. I definitely don't have the knowledge and skill to properly secure that type of hosted service, and would require a professional to configure and check in and maintain as well.

Servers can get quite hot, especially when you are running multiple rackmount systems in a closed environment. No matter what brand or type of server you go with heat is going to be one major factor to consider when you start working with multiple servers.

Let's just for now assume that you are going to have a single 42U rack for storing your servers, battery backups, and networking. First off, it's going to be pretty full depending upon the configurations and types of servers you go with. For simplicity sake lets say you have ten servers (each handling 100 connections, that's 1000 maximum user connections.) Each server is going to be pulling anywhere between 400 watts and 1,000 watts depending again upon configuration, and is going to be putting out a lot of heat. You'd want to have the rack standing out from the corner of the room definitely so you can get access all around it and allow for airflow through the rack. But you are going to have to have very good air conditioning giving air directly towards the rack, and it will have to be running all year round. What's more is if the air conditioning does fail, you have major heat issues to contend with and your only option is going to be shutting everything down until the air conditioning is operational again.
January 4, 2013 1:48:07 PM

well i cant have ten servers at home haha
I cant afford that much of power consuption
in my country electricity is as expensive as hell
you can pay 100$ per month just for turning the water heater and heater for your room in winter !
about the software and gpus i will discuss that with the programmers of the software i am going to use
And i think that the latest tesla gpu might work without coding the program to use cuda architecture
i cant have a system that consumes more than 2000Watts lets say 3000Watts including cooling

so what network configuration should i set up?
do i need a router ?!
or should i connect the server directly to the internet using a modem?!
if iam using two servers what switch would be good for clustering them or for data transfere if i am going to run the data base on another small server?

January 4, 2013 1:50:26 PM

and by the way
I noticed that everyone went lokking on my other thread and post here!
i found diferent sections so i posted my request for help setting the network here in the networking section and the hardware in its section
till now no one answered my questions about hardware!
January 4, 2013 3:40:15 PM

Can you post cpu and memory requirements per server node as well?

I am fairly certain that this scenario is purely hypothetical as of now, but just for reference...
January 4, 2013 3:46:22 PM

on a mobile phone, just saw that you did post system requirements, sorry.
January 4, 2013 4:44:26 PM

I think the biggest thing here is the load demand difference that you are looking at compared to what the system requirements are referencing and recommending. In the link you posted, it states that most private servers are between 20 and 40 concurrent users, where as you are talking about 1000 to 5000 concurrent users which is a huge difference in performance necessities and therefore budget in cost, power consumption, heating, and security.

It seems that the type of server that this is going to be (based on what I gather from the system requirements page you link) is an SQL database server. This isn't something that really can benefit from GPGPU like an nVidia Tesla card. It all has to do with fast hard drive speed, plenty of memory throughput, and the CPU capable of handling that load. You may have a very hard time supporting the great number of concurrent connections that you are referring to due to the bottleneck of your storage system if you are only running a couple physical servers.

Networking wise, if you're only going to have a couple servers then you don't need to spend a bunch of money on a fancy switch. You just don't have that many computers to connect. You will need to look into a dedicated firewall appliance of some kind (whether that is a separate server or a network security appliance like the Sonicwall TZ or NSA series devices.) Depending upon the level of high availability you are intending to offer and the amount of bandwidth, you're going to have to look into multiple routers or firewalls to do load balancing and WAN failover. Whether you use a modem or not is going to depend upon the type of internet connection service you can get. If you're getting a SDSL type package just to begin the project then yes you will connect the modem first, then to your firewall. Otherwise you may need some other form of media converter or router which connects directly to your ISP via fiber or whatever else they are offering as an end point connection.

I think the reason why the discussion here dove more into the server side of things is you have to determine your number of servers, the types of servers, and your anticipated load to understand then what kind of networking equipment you will need.
January 4, 2013 5:43:37 PM

well the data base is a small part of this server and i can easily put 128GB DDR3 RAM which is double the requirment !
and put a bunch of SSD's for high read/write speed

actually there will be 4 servers running and may be the game client for GM control
1-World server : this is quiet everything that do almost every thing that is ingame
2-logon server : this is very essential but wont make a big load.
3-WAMP : Apache web server with php and Mysql all included ,its rare that some one use the website ,usually upon registering or password changing.
4-Mysql Database server : containing 4 database two for world server ,one for logon server ,one for the website.
5-Game client : is not a server but i need it to be a GM in the game !.

The world server and the database server are the most resource demanding.

""For every player add 10MB of memory usage(This can spike to 30+ if the player loads a map/instance), 17 KBPS up/down(or if you want to get really specific about 17 KBPS downstream and 5-10 upstream), and about ~40MHZ of CPU - but leave that out, you want a massive CPU if you are looking for performance not a "~40MHZ away" processor.""

Is this the best Xeon processor available now Intel® Xeon® Processor E7-8870 ?!
Is this the best Tesla GPU available now nVIDIA Telsa K20X ?and how much does it cost
January 4, 2013 5:59:33 PM

Since people ignored my other post and for people who didnt read it,here:

Some of what i want:
->at least 4 CPU sockets supporting intel Xeon E7 the best one.
->Support for at least 4 PCI eXpress x16 i prefer version 3.0.
->support for PCI and smaller pci express.
->10GBE Networking.
->Usb and other essentilal connectivity.
->Support for tape drives ,optical drives ,floppy drives ,...etc.
->support for Raid arrays on all raid modes
->Support at least 16 hard drives
->Not sure about SAS and SATA !

-Which would be better SAS or SATA?!
-should i go for WD Enterprise class drives (SATA 64MB cache or SAS 32MB cache)?
-What should i do for cooling?
-Should i use Tape drives for backup or SAN NAS DAS ...etc?
-What is the best backup solution (live backup,scheduled backup,a combination of both)?
-Which is better incremental or differential backup?
-What is the best operating system for this setup regarding both security and performance(Windows server,linux server,FreeBSD server)?
-Which is the best Raid mode for both speed and protection (0+1,10,5,0+5,15,50,51,6,0+6,16,60,61)?
-should i use normal monitors on a desk or use the control thing thats composed of a keyboard and monitor mounted in a rack?
-to combine multiple servers with the same previous specs ,what is the best way to craete an efficient cluster server?

January 5, 2013 1:49:54 PM

The type of server configuration setup that you are looking into, and the load and network structure here that is being suggested, needs a hands-on professional to do. This isn't a kind of business venture that can be handled and done through a public online forum.

If you're doing everything off of a single server (eg. one world server, one sql server, etc.) then keep in mind what will happen if/when something happens and that server goes down. If all these computers are working together in an integral matter, then the failure of one part will most likely mean a failure throughout your entire configuration. This is why it's recommended to instead of putting everything possible into a single physical machine, two run at least two instead and load balance in place of that single server. This does mean more servers, more heat, and more power draw.

If this is a serious project, and you're truly wishing to go forward with the configuration and setup of this type of server role, you need to be hiring a professional. If you've got that much money to spend on servers and network infrastructure, you definitely have the money to hire someone who can consult with you on the proper equipment to get at a professional level and walk through the entire setup.
January 5, 2013 4:24:07 PM

I dont mind the server to fail for a while.
as i dont have enough money to hire a proffesional or having multiple servers or pay the electric bill of *** ton of servers.
If this thing works the max i can get from ads is 1000-3000 $.
so dont expect me to hire someone or get several servers working together unless i had my advertisement flooding me with cents for 1 or 2 years ,such that i am able to upgrade my server to be something unique!
I can barely get one bomb server and doing everything myself(i know its quite difficult!)
January 5, 2013 5:08:33 PM

What I am saying is you are not going to find any additional help on these forums for your particular situation. If you wish to proceed further, you are going to HAVE to find someone professionally to do it. Anyone with the expertise and knowledge to do so will not go further without compensation, and anyone else on here that has free advice to give probably won't be able to give you any more helpful information within our own areas of experience and training.

If you're looking at purchasing multiple servers, especially any that are GPGPU oriented or have the type of processing power that you are suggesting in your configurations, you are going to have to invest some of that money instead into a trained professional for this job.
January 5, 2013 5:21:17 PM

Too bad...
OK lets leave all that aside.
i want to know the best ultra high end hardware ie : best motherboard ,best network,sas,case,cabinet,firewall,modem,cables,storage drives,ram,...etc
January 5, 2013 5:21:28 PM

As choucove and other have said, you may very well be jumping the gun on this. Why don't you just get a decent workstation/server set up for a smaller scale test run, and then go from there if it works out? You will probably have to spend well over $10k to get the kind of hardware you really want going, and i don't think you'll want to spend that kind of money without a written contract from somebody guaranteeing their estimates/work (some kind of service level guarantee).

To start out, get a small business class router with gigabit WAN ports and built-in firewall ($200+) (something like this: ) and a decent server/workstation ($1000+) ( with more memory and more hard drives) and you can go from there.

The things i linked are for reference only.

You're going to have to spend $1500+ to get a true gigabit throughput router/firewall due to the overhead of processing that amount of data.
January 5, 2013 6:44:45 PM

bdubs85 has a good idea, start with a small scale "test" configuration and see how well that is running for you and will scale. It might even be good just to consider this as your startup with the intent of growing as you can afford and are able to implement new equipment.

To begin with you may even consider just running everything from a single physical server and utilizing several virtual machines running on the same platform. First off, this will be able to leverage more flexible changes to your individual server components to test how they handle loads, and you can do so all with a single server. This decreases your initial hardware costs and the cost of power/cooling for your initial startup and testing period.

I'd suggest looking into a good dual-socket Intel Xeon server for this kind of configuration, and load it up with at least 32 GB of RAM so you have enough to allocate more or less to your different VMs depending upon how your load is going once things are configured. You are going to need to also get a nice dedicated RAID controller with onboard cache, and would recommend several sets of RAID SAS hard drives, which can either hold virtual machine drive files or be passed directly through to individual virtual machines.

Again, this is all about the testing. Spend a little money to figure it out first before shelling out the hundreds of thousands that your original project is likely to cost.

Network wise this startup configuration wouldn't really need much since you could run it all from a single physical server. I'd recommend a gigabit network interface for each of your virtual machines plus one for your host machine. This may require purchasing additional NIC cards to add in to your server. You will also need a decent network router/firewall. The one that bdubs linked would be great to begin with, I have used Sonicwalls as well personally and they should work fine as well. You can also look into purchasing a simple gigabit switch to connect your devices, but at this point you're not going to need a high-density switch (24 ports should be more than enough) and gigabit should offer plenty of throughput for phase one of your startup.
January 6, 2013 1:48:18 AM

i know a har drive recovey engineer who told me that he knows someone offering him old used servers for a cheap price
they are really very old
usually 2 cpu socket motherboard,each cpu has 1 core !,3.x GHZ 2-3 MB cache
not sure if its xeon or core
also i dont know if its SCSI or SATA

should i go see that system for testing as you say ?
January 6, 2013 1:54:29 AM

It depends on the hardware and the age. For a simple test of your configuration it might not be a bad idea, but the problem is if the servers are quite old and limited performance capabilities, then you are spending your money on something that cannot be used further down the road for actual usage, and the technology might not be the same as getting newer equipment.

For server systems, most of the time I just recommend not getting older systems as it can be more cost than it is worth to get the thing running with the performance you want, hard drive storage capacity, etc. when you can just get a new server for slightly more with everything you need and the latest technology. The other problem you sometimes run across using older hardware is having driver support for newer operating systems, such as if you are wishing to use Windows Server 2012.
January 6, 2013 3:20:51 AM

yes it will be very very old

lets say i cant afford this project !.
i want to get a cheap server having all of the standards to experiment with using the same game server mentioned.

what should i buy and for how much ?

i have seen that windows server supports only 2 cpu's is that true?!
what does this mean "Power 2800W (2+2) Redundant 1400W high-efficiency power supply with PMBus"?its about power supply

is red hat linux the best os for xeon server?

January 6, 2013 3:35:04 AM

The latest licensing from Windows Server 2012 is based on up to two processors per physical server, and also supports a certain number of virtual machines depending upon the Standard or Datacenter licensing. However, you can buy additional upgrade licensing for this to support additional processors and additional virtual machines as necessary.

Which operating system you choose is going to depend upon your software and especially upon your understanding and experience with that operating system. Linux might be a better option when it comes to efficiency on certain things (given if your software supports it) but it is going to be more tricky with driver support compared to Windows and are you experienced in managing a linux server environment?
January 6, 2013 3:59:33 AM

yes Linux have better performance but it lacks security
which os combine both performance and security?

about the power supply thingy
Power 2800W (2+2) Redundant 1400W high-efficiency power supply with PMBus
is it a 2800W PSU or actually two 1400W PSU's (one for backup)?
what is the best anti power failure plan?which is the best UPS backup battery?

how much is that windows server supporting many cpu's