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Thread: Butterfly & IBM to Introduce Grid Network @ E3

  1. Butterfly & IBM to Introduce Grid Network @ E3

    Online gaming is about to change, again...

    Butterfly and IBM have teamed up to introduce a new infrastructure for the online video gaming market. Coined as The Butterfly Grid, the first-ever custom commercial grid for the online video gaming market, allows online video game providers to support a massive number of players within the same game by allocating computing resources to the most populated areas and most popular games.

    An emerging model of computing, Grids are built with clusters of servers joined together over the Internet, using protocols provided by the Globus open source community and other open technologies, including Linux. Like the World Wide Web enables people to share content over standard, open protocols, Grid protocols emerging from the Globus open source community are enabling organizations to create virtual organizations sharing applications, data and computing power over the Internet to collaborate, tackle large problems and lower the cost of computing

    The Grid was built by over the last two years using IBM e-business infrastructure technology that distributes the processing of video game interaction across a network of server farms, enabling to support a massive number of video gamers playing simultaneously over the Internet. The Grid is a secure system built on customized software operating on the private network of

    Video game providers can access the Grid to support their online products by including the Butterfly Grid client software libraries in the games they distribute. These software libraries, along with sample code for connecting mobile devices.

    "We selected IBM as the infrastructure provider for our Grid because of their unparalleled support for the Linux operating system and grid computing, their understanding of the unique processing and communication requirements of video games, their carrier-independent collocation centers and their commitment to developing this market opportunity with us as a true partner," said David Levine, CEO of

    The Butterfly Grid is powered by rack-mounted Linux-based IBM eServer xSeries systems hosted by IBM and running on internal fiber-optic networks for optimal use of computing and communications resources. The grid design offers the potential to support over one million simultaneous players from each facility in a 24/7 environment with automatic fail over capability.

    "The Butterfly Grid is an innovative Grid system with the capability of processing online video games across a multicast network of server farms, allowing efficient utilization of computing resources for high-performance 3D immersive game-worlds," said Scott Penberthy, vice president of Business Development, IBM Global Services. "We believe the Butterfly Grid is a breakthrough platform that will help entertainment, media and game companies reduce costs and better deploy their entertainment properties online."

    Online video games have historically segmented players onto separate servers, limiting the number that could interact and creating reliability and support obstacles. In the first generation of games, when one server is down, or patches are being installed, game-play comes to a halt. Butterfly's second-generation grid technology enables online video game providers to reliably deliver fast-paced, cutting edge games to millions at the same time. The server interaction is completely transparent and seamless to the user - delivering a resilient gaming infrastructure where servers can be added, or replaced, without interrupting game-play.

    Globus Project co-leader Dr. Ian Foster of Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago noted, "The Butterfly Grid approach to building scalable, reliable gaming infrastructure is a wonderful example of how Grid and Globus Toolkit technologies can deliver real value to end users. We're delighted to have Butterfly working with Globus technologies."

    The new Butterfly Grid is the industry's first to provide support for:

    Massive numbers of players within one persistent-state world. - Before the Butterfly Grid, online video games have been divided into "shards" that provide copies of the game world on separate servers, limiting the number of players that can interact. The Butterfly Grid provides "cross-server sentinels" that could potentially support the interaction of millions of players in one true world, with server boundaries invisible to players.

    <b>Distributed Artificial Intelligence</b> - provides a "daemon controller" for advanced interactions between players and non-player characters through a simple, standard Python interface.
    <b>Game genre's</b> - Developers can build innovative action, strategy, role-playing, simulation and adventure games, combine genres and invent new ones.

    <b>Multiple, concurrent games</b> - With multiple online video games on one computing grid, publishers can allocate resources to more popular games, launch new games with less risk, and offer flexible and innovative subscription plans to drive revenue growth.

    <b>Connected devices</b> - connects PCs, PocketPCs, Palm-compatible handhelds, and dedicated video-game consoles in massively-multiplayer online games. An innovative packet-transport protocol provides fast, balanced game-play over broadband, dial-up and mobile Internet connections for unique multi-channel interactions

    <b>Hot-swappable components</b> - Once an online video game is launched, it doesn't need to be constantly taken off line for patches or maintenance. When grid components are unavailable, connections are redirected to available resources for continuous gameplay.

    <b>3D engine support</b> - Game developers working on the Butterfly Grid can exploit fully integrated, industry-standard 3D engines out of the box.

    <b>Shared-source developer sandbox</b>- Unique license program allows for real-time prototyping on live server grid with full bandwidth and simulation/load testing.

    <p><b>Related Links</b>

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  2. Wow, just think about it. The first MMMORPG.


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