The hardware and network infrastructure
Presence in 3 European countries
VeryGames currently offers its services in these countries :
- France, in Paris, since June 2004
- Germany, in Francfort, since May 2007
- England, in Londres, since July 2009
This means VeryGames has hardware in each of these three countries: racks, servers, switchs...
What's the purpose of a DataCenter?
Datacenters are buildings specifically designed to host thousands of computer servers under their roof.
They provide the electric capacity and the cooling required for these computers to run 24h/day, all year long.
Since August 2010, the VeryGames Company has its own Datacenter.
In it, are hosted hundreds of computer servers, that are used to host the custommer's services :
- Game servers
- Web hostings
- Voice servers
- HLTV servers
- FTP accesses
and so on....
VeryGames has always had their own computer servers (like the hosting companies that rent dedicated servers).
But in the past, those servers were hosted in "public" datacenters, where a space was reserved for VeryGames.
Therefore, VeryGames has built its own datacenter.
Why build our own Datacenter?
This idea was floating in minds since 2007.
To have its own datacenter is a goal to reach for any hosting company that plans on becoming "big".
Better independence, better price management, flexibility and evolution of the offers, better customer service and responsiveness...
But at the time, investing in the building of a datacenter wasn't interesting, financially : the public datacenters' prices were reasonable, and the company wasn't solid enough to start such an adventure.
In 2008/2009, the situation changed : the company was in place, had experience in the domain of hosting thanks to its presence in Germany and England, and above all, the price of the public datacenters had exploded.
The reason behind this price evolution ? The lack of space in French datacenters.
VeryGames incurred an increase in housing costs over 50% in less than 2 years.
The project of building a datacenter financially became very interesting, and there were no more obstacles to its realisation.
What were the steps of such a project?
A year passed between the starting point of the project, and the moment when the first customers were installed in the new datacenter.
The steps can be divided in 4 parts, approximately equal in time :
- Exploration to find a suitable place.
- The "paperwork": Technical plans, fundings, buying and constructions, assessments, contracts with the companies that realised the constructions (Electricity, fiber connection ...)
- The construction: site supervision.
- Tests and relocation.
For a company that started from scratch in 2004, it was quite the task !
What's the capacity of this Datacenter?
Evolution possibilities are important.
Electricity-wise and ground surface-wise, the datacenter can host thrice what the previous facility could.
Network-wise, the capacity is 10 times the previous one, and even more if necessary.
Where is this Datacenter?
The datacenter is located in a building in Choisy-le-Roi, approximately 5 km south of Paris.
The building also house the offices of the company.
Before the setup of the new datacenter, the office was 35 km away from the previous datacenter, that we had to drive for any technical issue.
Today, the administrators are a few meters away from the computer servers : no need to explain the gain in responsiveness.
A few photos?
Here are a few pictures of the construction process :
- Electrical power connection to the ERDF network
- Fibre Optic connection
- Cooling system construction
- Setup of an inverter and its batteries
Click on a picture to enlarge it.
And a few pictures of the place after relocating : To be published
Does this Datacenter respect the environmental cause?
The company has always had the environmental protection at heart.
Building this datacenter was an occasion to prove it.
By thinking it through, it is possible to minimize the global energy consumption of a datacenter.
Even more when it comes to the energy used for cooling.
VeryGames' datacenter is cooled with outside air, via a clever ventilation system, developed within the company.
In case of high temperatures in the summer, an air conditioning system cools the outside air before letting it in the datacenter.
In a common datacenter, it is not rare to see that the energy used by the cooling systems is equal (100%) to the energy used by the hardware.
In VeryGames' datacenter, this overconsumption is limited to only 5%, which is an exceptional performance.
To achieve such results, the air conditioners are automatically started above an outside temperature of 22°C, and the ventilation system is auto-regulated by thermostats.
The cooler it is outside, the less our cooling system is active.
When the outside air drops below 10°C, our cooling system uses less than 2% of the energy used by our hardware !
This system is green, easy to set up, relatively cheap compared to a huge air conditionning system, and the icing on the cake, it allows substantial savings on the electrical bill !
Is the relocation fully over?
The whole computer equipment has been relocated to the new datacenter in August 2010.
The operation has taken three weeks, in about 10 travels.
During those three weeks, both datacenters have worked at the same time.
This has mainly helped in progressively scaling the load on the new datacenter, in order to ensure the stability of the new hardware (fibre optic, inverter, cooling system...).
August is the quieter month of the year because players are in holiday, and the interventions only took place in the morning.
Not many people have noticed the relocation, and the disturbances have been very limited.
Is the network quality different from before?
No because VeryGames chose to keep their network provider.
VeryGames network quality remained excellent.
The ping even lowered towards certain ISPs !
Here are a few pictures of the Datacenters in Frankfurt, and London :
Top notch hardware
In the last 4 years, all the hardware (hundreds of machines) has been completely renewed twice ! Since 2008, all the servers are hosted on machines equipped with Intel 4 of 6 cores CPUs, and between 8 and 32 GB or RAM (depending on the offers).
Contrary to most of our competitors, that rent hardware or dedicated servers, VeryGames owns all used hardware. This allows for a much greater independence, and a better costs management, on the long-term.
The heart of VeryGames' network relies on the use of Cisco's switches, leader in this field.
All custommers data are stored on file servers using 16 hard drives, set in RAID 10, for an optimal security and better performances.
High performance network
It is important to note that the location of VeryGames in each of these countries has not been left to chance : These locations are the heart of their nationals fibre optic networks. Paris, London, and Frankfurt are locations that allows the best overall ping, for every player.
In France, that's the reason VeryGames is the GSP that offers the best ping ! As a reference, a player located in London will have a ping increased by 8ms on a server hosted in Liverpool, compared to a server hosted in London...
The choice of the Internet providers is also crucial : VeryGames works only with local operators, which have numerous peering and transit links towards the other operators of the country.
What is the capacity of VeryGames network ?
VeryGames has a total up and down bandwidth capacity of 12Gbps to the Internet:
- 10 Gbps in France
- 1 Gbps in England
- 1 Gbps in Germany