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Games Hardware

A Look At One of Blizzard's Retired World of Warcraft Servers 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the dissecting-a-nerd-playground dept.
MojoKid writes "At last count, Activision Blizzard pegged the number of World of Warcraft subscribers at 10.2 million. It takes a massive amount of gear to host all the different game worlds, or realms, as they're referred to. Each realm is hosted on its own server, and in late 2011, Activision Blizzard began auctioning off retired server blades from the days of yore to benefit the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. They sold around 2,000 retired Hewlett-Packard p-Class server blades on eBay and donated 100 percent of the proceeds (minus auction expenses) to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which seeks to advance the treatment and prevention of catastrophic diseases in children. This article has a look at one of those retired server blades."
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A Look At One of Blizzard's Retired World of Warcraft Servers

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  • Re:Blades (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:46PM (#39406605) Homepage Journal
    Um, where do you think those Xeons and Opterons are installed? In individual towers? 1U servers are basically the same as blades except you have a lot more smaller redundant parts (power supplies, fans, etc...).

    Plus, you are griping about hardware that has been retired.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2012 @03:05PM (#39406795)

    The article writer doesn't mention the specs of the blade, isn't interested in knowing if it works and thinks its ugly?! He has no interest in server tech or playing wow. Why waste our time linking to this article?

  • Re:Blades (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday March 19, 2012 @03:05PM (#39406805) Journal
    The main saving grace of the humble 1U is that it doesn't have a vendor who has you by the balls for the next 14-ish systems you buy, along with a variety of option cards and things. Your basic rack doesn't provide much in the way of amenities, leading to lots of messy duplication of 40mm jet-fans and PSUs and a cable mess; but it just doesn't have the lock-in of a physically and logically proprietary cardcage...

    So far, the blade guys have had a difficult time not pocketing as much of the extra efficiency value as they can, while the commodity 1U knife-fight is wasteful; but it is rather harder for your vendor to achieve market power over you.
  • by DuckDodgers (541817) <keeper_of_the_wolf@@@yahoo...com> on Monday March 19, 2012 @03:12PM (#39406855)
    It only makes sense to employ people if you have a job for them to do. If Blizzard had nothing useful for them to do, keeping them around to twiddle their thumbs doesn't make much sense.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday March 19, 2012 @03:17PM (#39406899)

    I get the feeling their backend design wasn't the best. For years they took their servers down every single week for a massive 6-8 hour maintenance period. This wasn't for updates, this was just regular. Patches took forEVER to happen. It clearly wasn't something like "Take things down, roll out new code, run checks, bring it online." Given that some things would only affect particular realms it was pretty clear they were doing things like running series of scripts and commands to upgrade things, and the process shad trouble in certain configurations and so on.

    So it wouldn't surprise me if they did things like store data on the blades themselves and so on. I can't say for sure, since Blizzard has been secretive to the point of paranoia about how things work on the back end, but my experience with the game leads me to believe they did not have a particularly good backend setup.

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