The gaming industry is booming. And with the boom comes increasingly complex games that need to be delivered under deadline, by a diversity of contributors working across a variety of locations. There are more artifacts to store and larger build files. We’re hearing “millions of files” from Resilio customers.
Developers and QA professionals have always needed timely access to both older and current builds. Yet in modern gaming environments, the problem has become more complex: There are now larger builds, distributed teams, larger teams, and more frequent builds.
There is more work to do and more data to move to many more endpoints, in a fixed timeframe. When a game developer or tester needs access to the build, they either require near immediate access (e.g., when a developer or tester logs on in the morning) or access within a predictable timeframe or schedule.
Other trends we’re hearing from the gaming industry are:
- Customers want fast access to build stores across locations. These stores may be centralized or distributed. Hosted on-premises or in the cloud. Some customers have their eyes on the cloud, in a hybrid cloud scenario.
- Remote work is here to stay. As more game contributors work remotely, files need to be rapidly and reliably moved across locations, using whatever network happens to be available to users (WiFi, 5G, or dedicated pipe). Game contributors use a diversity of platforms and workstations (Windows, Mac, Linux). Companies need effective ways of moving data across platforms.
- Efficiency matters. The idea of caching all data everywhere is impractical. As more contributors work remotely, and more games require collaboration across partner companies, there needs to be an efficient way to get the right data where it needs to be, in a timely manner; ideally, using existing IT infrastructure that’s already in-place.
- Speed and sheer scalability matter. At the end of the day, the data needs to move as fast as possible, using whatever network is available. That said, as faster networks are deployed (from 1Gbps to 10Gbps and beyond), customers should have a fluid way of utilizing that bandwidth to move more data faster.
- Multi-cloud architectures are important but many customers are looking to invest heavily with a single provider. Especially when considering how workflows use the cloud–and the implications across the organization.
- Faster network infrastructure is another trend, increasing bandwidth to 10, 20, and in some cases to 100Gbps network infrastructure.
- Larger numbers of contributors: Developers, testers, and other collaborators, all working on a single game.
- Larger numbers of test machines: Require the ability to distribute the same build to many more endpoints.
- Larger builds (moving from 4K to 8K). In some cases, games are going to 8K resolution. In these situations, conventional file server replication and other sharing strategies are being overloaded or simply can’t keep up. Resilio is an ideal solution for companies moving to (or testing) 8K builds!
Considering these trends, what types of capabilities should a modern build distribution solution include? As games become increasingly complex and moving to higher resolution, requiring more development and QA time, the Resilio Connect gaming solution helps game developers in a number of ways.
Some of the ways Resilio helps gaming companies includes:
Daily build sizes are immense and include many files. The available IP networks could be of varying speeds and qualities; from high-speed 10Gbps to poor quality WiFi with varying degrees of latency and packet loss. The solution should be able to scale to support large files, larger numbers of files, and also be able to move data predictably and reliably over any type of IP network.
Predictability at scale:
Some gaming companies need to distribute builds to many more endpoints than in the past, and in a fixed timeframe. Historically, using conventional replication technologies, distributing builds to 100s of endpoints took much more time than distributing to 5 or 10 endpoints. With Resilio Connect, the time it takes to deliver builds to 5 or 500 endpoints is nearly the same. Resilio supports one-to-many and many-to-many any-directional, concurrent data movement to 1000s of endpoints.
Some users could be working from home for quite some time; others could be in the office (either full- or part-time). The reality is, all users need secure, timely, and predictable access to large build files and other artifacts.
Business and workflow continuance:
From a business perspective, much is on the line financially when it comes to producing and distributing games within fixed timeframes, under deadline. There’s no room downtime or delays typically associated with accessing, synchronizing, and distributing builds. Thus, the solution should eliminate downtime, protect all data end-to-end, and ensure all builds can be delivered within predictable time frames, across any location.
Efficiency and cost reduction:
Only the files that are needed, or the changed portion of files, are downloaded from the store. In some cases users need to retrieve or download data; in other cases automation may be necessary to push or distribute data in real-time.
Using Resilio Connect, users at any location may access files directly from the cloud. Alternatively, using a Resilio Connect gateway, game companies leverage their on-premise storage capacity and performance to efficiently “gate” access to builds for users in a local cache stored on-premises.
This gives customers a solution to seamlessly incorporate the cloud, reduce egress fees, and maintain high performance file access for both in-office and remote users. For in-office users, no new training is required. For remote users, they simply install a Resilio Connect agent.
There is no additional complexity or the need to be trained on a new application. Resilio Connect is 100% transparent to existing workflows, as cloud files appear locally but are streamed on-demand when accessed using a transparent selective sync mode, with a local copy of the file cached for some period of time-based on configured policies.
The combined solution is centrally managed through the Resilio Connect Management Console for complete control across the organization. Agents on the different endpoints talk to cloud endpoints and retrieve data from the cloud storage. The entire system can be controlled using a REST API and be integrated with the current CI/CD systems. Resilio Connect supports several deployment scenarios.
Our next blog will present a reference architecture for deploying a distributed game build repository using existing IT storage, the cloud, and Resilio’s any-directional, scale-out distribution software.