Increasing BGA service capacity [UPDATE]

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sourisdudesert
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Increasing BGA service capacity [UPDATE]

Post by sourisdudesert » 26 March 2020, 19:49

UPDATE March 26th: Some more details: what we are trying to achieve these days

Original post here

To provide a service like Board Game Arena, we need a lot of different service pieces that must work together. For example, you need a service to keep all the datas about players and games (the "database"), you need a service to host the game tables (the "games service"), you need a service to make sure everyone is notified in realtime when something happens on the website (the "realtime service"), a service to allow you to find a table to play (the "lobby"), and so on ...

Board Game Arena is growing for the 10 past years, and little by little we made the different pieces evolved so they can "scale", ie they can be able to host more and more players. To do that, we made our services evolves so they can be distributed, which means "can be run on several servers". This way, it is easy to scale up the service: you just have to buy and install more servers :)

A good example is the "games services". We you have a game in progress, you are playing in one of our 5 game servers (1 for the turn based games, 4 for the realtime games). Our game service is distributed for years, and it works very well. Thanks to that, it was quite easy for us to handle the recent traffic, and only few of you are getting problems when they are into a game.

However, some pieces of Board Game Arena were not distributed until now. And they were not because there were running fine so it was not a priority for us. The Covid situation and the very high traffic totally changed the situation.

Our "realtime service" was not distributed, but we were planning to distribute it in the near future. We just accelerated the process and - even it took us some time - it was not really an issue to upgrade the capacity of this service.

So where is the Very Big Problem. The very big problem we have is the Board Game Arena "meta" website, the one which contains the lobby and allow you to find opponents to play, and manage everything that happened before and after a game. This component is quite hard to distribute, because as you can imagine when you want to make the players meet themselves you need to have all players at the same place.

As a consequence, it is not distributed, and considering our average growth it was not planned to be distributed until 1 year or 2. Because it is not distributed, buying more servers is useless. Because of the emergency, we bought the most powerful available server to host it, and this is how we manage to go up to 16k-18k simultaneous players.

You probably get the point: to go further this point, we need to make it distribuable. It means changing the way many little and big things are working, so it means software development.

For 2 weeks, we are receiving a lot of support from all of you: thanks a lot for this. A lot of you are also advertising for our Premium membership in order to help us to increase the service capacity, and this is really nice from you. However, because we need to change many things on our software in a very short period of time, what we need the most at now is ... time.

So please be patient: in 2 weeks, we increased the capacity from 5.000 simultaneous players to 16k-18k. It won't take several weeks for us to increase this capacity again, but it may take several days before the next capacity increase. We know this is difficult to play on BGA these days, we know that sometimes our updates are making the service unresponsive, but it is going to get better and better.

Thanks for making BGA so popular, and see you soon with (hopefully) good news.

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DungeonD
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Re: Increasing BGA service capacity [UPDATE]

Post by DungeonD » 27 March 2020, 10:53

Not everyone needs to be on the same lobby you only ever meet a fraction of the users regularly. Just get another server for the lobby and put the new users on it with a switch if you are looking 4 someone in particular who could be on either server. Not the most aesthetic solution but 1 that will work for now especially with COVID you will grow aint gonna contract.

You can then design a 1 server solution for later

Cheers

Martin

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sourisdudesert
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Re: Increasing BGA service capacity [UPDATE]

Post by sourisdudesert » 27 March 2020, 11:01

DungeonD wrote:
27 March 2020, 10:53
Not the most aesthetic solution but 1 that will work for now especially with COVID you will grow aint gonna contract.
:) :) :) :)

The solution you described is indeed one of the possible. However, whatever the solution, software development is still needed, and that is the main point :)

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DoctorPelusa
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Re: Increasing BGA service capacity [UPDATE]

Post by DoctorPelusa » 27 March 2020, 18:12

From a totally ignorant point of view, is there a reason why the main server can't be left for session management & chat, and transfer the matchmaking and lobbies to different shards each of them hosting a different set of games, in the end, when matchmaking you first select the game don't you?

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mhmoser03
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Re: Increasing BGA service capacity [UPDATE]

Post by mhmoser03 » 28 March 2020, 00:06

I am a new premium member and I am hoping to often use arena to invite specific friends to play a game. I am assuming others want to do the same at times rather then just play with strangers. Would a separate 'lobby' designed for hosting private invite only tables help with spreading the lobby load that you mentioned is a bottleneck.

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sourisdudesert
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Re: Increasing BGA service capacity [UPDATE]

Post by sourisdudesert » 28 March 2020, 15:12

Good news: we finished the development work to distribute the "meta" website.

We now have 2 servers working together, which allowed us to go up to 20.000 simultaneous players during a test last night.

Today we must limit again at 18.000 players, but hopefully tomorrow (Sunday) we will have a third server that will give us the possibility to host more than 20.000 simultaneous players :)

bamlinden
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Joined: 28 March 2020, 06:49

Re: Increasing BGA service capacity [UPDATE]

Post by bamlinden » 28 March 2020, 22:18

Hello. Thank you for your work on this.

Will priority be given to those with Premium accounts? I ask only because I was going to play with friends tonight...I bought the premium membership and can log in, my sister (who does not have premium) can't log in.

Would appreciate any suggestions.

Thank you.

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SgtGolden
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Re: Increasing BGA service capacity [UPDATE]

Post by SgtGolden » 28 March 2020, 23:36

bamlinden wrote:
28 March 2020, 22:18
Hello. Thank you for your work on this.

Will priority be given to those with Premium accounts? I ask only because I was going to play with friends tonight...I bought the premium membership and can log in, my sister (who does not have premium) can't log in.

Would appreciate any suggestions.

Thank you.
At the moment as the limit is 18,000 players, premium account do get a priority and are able to log in even if it's full. At the moment there is a message that says "...If you have a Premium account, you are always allowed to connect. Otherwise, please come back outside of peak hours to play some games!" if the 18k players peak has been reached.

It would make sense that this will continue to be the case.

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sourisdudesert
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Re: Increasing BGA service capacity [UPDATE]

Post by sourisdudesert » 29 March 2020, 08:28

UPDATE March 29th

Yesterday, we managed to host more than 130.000 games on Board Game Arena (new record).

Because of the reasons explained in the first post of this forum thread, this number is slowly increasing day after day.

I'd like to share with you the number of games played each day since 1 month:

Image

From the beginning of the crisis, the number of games we managed to host has roughly be multiplied by 5.

We'd like you to know that we won't stop working until we can host everyone of you without any problem.

HammerH
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Joined: 29 March 2020, 11:40

Re: Increasing BGA service capacity [UPDATE]

Post by HammerH » 29 March 2020, 11:44

You guys are amazing. First Post: Got one year premium just to support you guys.
(And Inviting some friends and hoping, they get premium as well - that's such an amazing service you are providing here)

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