1. #1
    Field Marshal saidolol's Avatar
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    Maintenance, why u so long?

    as the title say, why is the goddamn maintenance so long?
    what do they do during this "maintenance", feeding the hamsters that powers the servers?

  2. #2
    Brewmaster ridish's Avatar
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    Probbably. Not to mention taking GC for a walk in the park and let him exercise.

  3. #3
    Mechagnome Thulyn's Avatar
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    Because, the longer they take. The better whatever they're doing, gets...

  4. #4
    No idea tbh, they've done it like this for close to 10 years now, even though software and especially server software is vastly improved.

    I can't see what they can't do with the servers up, but perhaps someone else can enlighten us?

  5. #5
    Mechagnome Thulyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crispin View Post
    No idea tbh, they've done it like this for close to 10 years now, even though software and especially server software is vastly improved.

    I can't see what they can't do with the servers up, but perhaps someone else can enlighten us?
    It's probably much easier, i'm no specialist... But i don't think the servers can handle that. Don't quote me on that though...

  6. #6
    The Insane Slowpoke is a Gamer's Avatar
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    I haven't heard the hamster joke in years.
    Human Female Gladiator (DPS Prot) Warrior. Wyrmrest Accord - US.

    "You should only install Warlords on your master hard drive. They will never be slaves." - @CM_Lore

    Better version of my avatar.

  7. #7
    Couple reasons:

    1. Most of their database is running on a UNIX backbone (AIX or HPUX) which can be slow. When you have 9 million people plus items, textures, quests, etc that database needs to be optimized.

    2. Backup. If that database is as big as I think it is, that thing should take a good 6+ hours to just do 1 standard backup. There is a good chance they are doing multiple backups at the same time not just on the UNIX backbone, but on their Windows Servers too.

    3. They are running Windows Server 2003, not 2008 or 2012. Server 2003 still works nicely in this kind of environment because a lot of end users are still on XP. If Blizzard upped the version of their server to 2012, all the people playing XP would not be able to play. XP and 2012 don't work well together due to DNSSEC (DNS Security)

    4. Last minute hotfixed that need to be deployed on the server side, not so much on the client side. Those hotfixes need to be backuped as well.

    5. Finally; there is no virtualization. If you're into IT, you know why SW:TOR failed so bad, and it wasn't just how buggy it was. When you Hyper-V a MMO, you're asking for trouble.

    If your wondering how I know about the UNIX backbone is because Blizzard posts job all the time looking for UNIX Network and System Administrators.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Moonsorow View Post
    Couple reasons:

    1. Most of their database is running on a UNIX backbone (AIX or HPUX) which can be slow. When you have 9 million people plus items, textures, quests, etc that database needs to be optimized.

    2. Backup. If that database is as big as I think it is, that thing should take a good 6+ hours to just do 1 standard backup. There is a good chance they are doing multiple backups at the same time not just on the UNIX backbone, but on their Windows Servers too.

    3. They are running Windows Server 2003, not 2008 or 2012. Server 2003 still works nicely in this kind of environment because a lot of end users are still on XP. If Blizzard upped the version of their server to 2012, all the people playing XP would not be able to play. XP and 2012 don't work well together due to DNSSEC (DNS Security)

    4. Last minute hotfixed that need to be deployed on the server side, not so much on the client side. Those hotfixes need to be backuped as well.

    5. Finally; there is no virtualization. If you're into IT, you know why SW:TOR failed so bad, and it wasn't just how buggy it was. When you Hyper-V a MMO, you're asking for trouble.

    If your wondering how I know about the UNIX backbone is because Blizzard posts job all the time looking for UNIX Network and System Administrators.
    Informative response, thanks. Can you speak further on point 5) though? I'm not hugely knowledgeable about this stuff, but I played SWTOR and I'm curious to hear what caused its myriad issues (especially input lag).

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Rapscallion84 View Post
    Informative response, thanks. Can you speak further on point 5) though? I'm not hugely knowledgeable about this stuff, but I played SWTOR and I'm curious to hear what caused its myriad issues (especially input lag).
    Sure. Its a little hard to explain. Hyper-V along with VMWare, and Citrix Xen are virtual tools. What this allows is to create "virtual" servers using a physical infrastructure. Take for example, right now if you want to have a server in your house you can do one of a few things. One you can build a server, or you can use your home PC that you use to play WoW on and create that same server virtually.

    Advancement to a business who uses mission critical data and storage (private cloud based storage using NetApp or EMC). Instead of buying 200 physical servers, the company buys 20 physical servers and then virtual's the other servers. With this, this allows all the users to still connect and see the data, but it's done in a virtual machine environment, with no physical servers.

    A lot of companies (small to big) do this where they consolidate the physical machines for virtual machines. There are many reasons to do this, one your carbon footprint is a lot smaller, and two you save thousands on hardware, licenses, and electricity.

    What BioWare did was have 500 physical servers across the United States (I'm not sure on the numbers of Europe). With those physical servers they created 3x more using Hyper-V for virtual machines. That would mean there was 1500 servers, but you would never see that. You would see a "server name" in a game, but on the inside of it you would've seen something called server clustering where it allows one server to have many connected to each other and act as one. Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are known to do this for everything including music to movies, to hosting games, and many other things. This is how iTunes Match works as well as Google Play and even Facebook and Twitter.

    The thing about using Virtual Machines is they suck up a lot of memory, hard drive space and processing power. Now memory is ever extendable and most big companies will easily have 100+GB of memory in their servers to run their data. Datacenters have this as well. Hard Drive space is also ever extendable by providing fast speed to the drives using a fiber connection called a SAN (Storage Area Network) or using a NAS (Network Attached Storage) if your using CAT5 / CAT6. Processing power on the other hand is limited by what Intel and AMD supply the company with. Right now the power isn't there to make a full game run in a virtual infrastructure.

    The problem is you have Hyper-V which is probably the worst server VM around. Don't get me wrong, I use it for a lot of things, but never the scale of an MMO. Though I'm more of a fan of VMWare Virtualcenter which has better infrastructure management including affinity rules for your processor, memory, and hard drive. Hyper-V uses a more dynamic system which is fine for companies who really don't want to do a lot of micromanaging. The micromanaging of Virtualcenter makes it the best as you can min / max everything and get the best results. Its like using Robot for everything in WoW.

    Blizzard on the other hand has many servers linked to one actual server. Again this goes back to clustering, and instead of VM they host all the servers themselves. Each server is used for something different, as one can be used for PVP, the other used for Raids, and so on. The database that they have controls all those aspects of those servers. Without the database all that data would be scattered around and would look like a absolute chaos.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Moonsorow View Post
    3. They are running Windows Server 2003, not 2008 or 2012. Server 2003 still works nicely in this kind of environment because a lot of end users are still on XP. If Blizzard upped the version of their server to 2012, all the people playing XP would not be able to play. XP and 2012 don't work well together due to DNSSEC (DNS Security)
    I'm afraid this is not correct. It's like saying that if you run a web site on a Windows 2012 server then you cannot access the web site with Windows XP. The server operating system they are using doesn't have anything to do with the operating systems of the clients.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Moonsorow View Post
    Sure. Its a little hard to explain. Hyper-V along with VMWare, and Citrix Xen are virtual tools. What this allows is to create "virtual" servers using a physical infrastructure. Take for example, right now if you want to have a server in your house you can do one of a few things. One you can build a server, or you can use your home PC that you use to play WoW on and create that same server virtually.

    Advancement to a business who uses mission critical data and storage (private cloud based storage using NetApp or EMC). Instead of buying 200 physical servers, the company buys 20 physical servers and then virtual's the other servers. With this, this allows all the users to still connect and see the data, but it's done in a virtual machine environment, with no physical servers.

    A lot of companies (small to big) do this where they consolidate the physical machines for virtual machines. There are many reasons to do this, one your carbon footprint is a lot smaller, and two you save thousands on hardware, licenses, and electricity.

    What BioWare did was have 500 physical servers across the United States (I'm not sure on the numbers of Europe). With those physical servers they created 3x more using Hyper-V for virtual machines. That would mean there was 1500 servers, but you would never see that. You would see a "server name" in a game, but on the inside of it you would've seen something called server clustering where it allows one server to have many connected to each other and act as one. Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are known to do this for everything including music to movies, to hosting games, and many other things. This is how iTunes Match works as well as Google Play and even Facebook and Twitter.

    The thing about using Virtual Machines is they suck up a lot of memory, hard drive space and processing power. Now memory is ever extendable and most big companies will easily have 100+GB of memory in their servers to run their data. Datacenters have this as well. Hard Drive space is also ever extendable by providing fast speed to the drives using a fiber connection called a SAN (Storage Area Network) or using a NAS (Network Attached Storage) if your using CAT5 / CAT6. Processing power on the other hand is limited by what Intel and AMD supply the company with. Right now the power isn't there to make a full game run in a virtual infrastructure.

    The problem is you have Hyper-V which is probably the worst server VM around. Don't get me wrong, I use it for a lot of things, but never the scale of an MMO. Though I'm more of a fan of VMWare Virtualcenter which has better infrastructure management including affinity rules for your processor, memory, and hard drive. Hyper-V uses a more dynamic system which is fine for companies who really don't want to do a lot of micromanaging. The micromanaging of Virtualcenter makes it the best as you can min / max everything and get the best results. Its like using Robot for everything in WoW.

    Blizzard on the other hand has many servers linked to one actual server. Again this goes back to clustering, and instead of VM they host all the servers themselves. Each server is used for something different, as one can be used for PVP, the other used for Raids, and so on. The database that they have controls all those aspects of those servers. Without the database all that data would be scattered around and would look like a absolute chaos.
    Thanks again! I feel like I've actually learned something today.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Siniwelho View Post
    I'm afraid this is not correct. It's like saying that if you run a web site on a Windows 2012 server then you cannot access the web site with Windows XP. The server operating system they are using doesn't have anything to do with the operating systems of the clients.
    Actually it does. Try setting up a Server 2012 and see if XP will connect, it won't. This is a plan made my Microsoft. I'm a Network Engineer and I've tried it and proved it to many of my clients too.

    Websites run different, as they are based upon a protocol HTTP / HTTPS which doesn't matter what server software you're running whether it's Apache or ISS. If a server is being used for resources than they need some sort of authorization and authentication. When we play, and enter our password we are authorizing ourselves to play. Authentication works differently than just our normal authenticators.

    While DNS is "just a protocol" as well, because of how it's configured and implemented into the network. Also what other DNS servers and routers have this going as well. Since we are logging into a server, that server needs to support most clients. Windows Server 2003 is the only one currently that can support Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 also Macs. Server 2008 can support Macs as well, but the configuration can be problematic.

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