Butterfly.net and IBM announced that are collaborating to create a Linux-based computing grid that will make use of the advanced networking capabilities of Sony's PlayStation2 in order to efficiently provision resources to meet the demands of console gamers.
“The massive Butterfly Grid is so revolutionary, it can support millions of concurrent PlayStation2 online users around the world, with no limit to the number of players who can be on the Grid at one time,” IBM said in a statement. “It was designed by Butterfly and IBM to operate as reliably as a television, radio or telephone.”
The new PlayStation2 online gaming Butterfly Grid will be unveiled next week at the annual Game Developer's Conference in San Jose, CA. The developer's Grid for building and testing online games is being hosted by IBM.
A live computing grid will be made available to PlayStation2 game developers so that they can develop, debug, and test their games directly on a working grid. Registered developers will receive a software development kit with sample games, client libraries, server software, documentation and technical support. Interested developers can access the Butterfly Grid by registering at www.butterfly.net.
Here is further info about the Butterfly Grid, and Computing Grids in general, from a statement jointly released today by IBM and Butterfly.net . . .
About the Butterfly Grid for PlayStation2 Online Gaming
The Butterfly Grid is based on Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA), an important new standard for high-performance, ultra-reliable computing. OGSA supports several of the most critical functions of successful online games: availability, security and performance. The Grid's OGSA-compliant software monitors the processing load on Linux-based IBM BladeCenters populated with 14 Blades, each with two Intel Xeon processors. When the Grid determines there are too many players connected to any particular server, the Grid automatically reconfigures underutilized Blades to support the most popular game-play and seamlessly transfers players to these Blades.
The Butterfly Grid is a new network gaming environment for Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation2 that enables online video game providers to reliably deliver state-of-the-art games to millions of concurrent users. Traditionally, online video games have segmented players onto separate servers, limiting the number that could interact and creating reliability and support obstacles. In the first generation of online games, when one server is down, overloaded, or patches are being installed, game-play comes to a halt. With Butterfly's breakthrough grid technology, 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.
The Butterfly Grid is hosted by IBM and powered by IBM Dual Xeon Blade Servers running Linux. IBM's WebSphere and DB2 software, along with Butterfly.net's game servers, gateways, networking software and artificial intelligence systems provide an integrated platform for online game development, deployment and ongoing operations. The Butterfly Grid's OGSA-compliant, XML-based Game Configuration Specification allows service providers to extend the Butterfly Grid out to the edge of the network, enabling dedicated gaming services and networks, voice communications and single sign-on across multiple titles for potentially lucrative new subscription revenue streams. The grid design is ultra-resilient, offering the potential to support over one million simultaneous players from each facility in a 24/7 environment with automatic fail over capability.
More about Computing Grids
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 and Python. 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.
Butterfly.net is working with the Global Grid Forum to ensure that any video game developed according to publicly available specifications and Internet open standards can draw resources-on-demand from the Butterfly Grid. The Globus Toolkit, available by download from www.globus.org, provides authorization and accounting functions, allocates hardware resources, configures game-specific logic and monitors performance on the Butterfly Grid.
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