How Australia’s Shockbyte scales with cloud

Australian game server provider Shockbyte uses bare metal servers on the cloud to meet the needs of demanding gaming applications and to grow its global footprint

Gaming is arguably one of the most demanding applications to run on any IT infrastructure, where computing resources are often stretched to their limits due to low latency and high performance requirements.

For gaming companies and professional gamers, setting up their own infrastructure to meet those demands can be daunting and prohibitively expensive, so many rely on public cloud service providers to host their games.

Shockbyte, an Australian game server provider, was set up in 2013 to fulfil that demand. From hosting a custom Minecraft game for Australian gamers, to one of the largest providers of game hosting services in the world, the company now serves 25 million gamers worldwide.

Today, Shockbyte runs its hosting infrastructure on OVHcloud, utilising the French cloud supplier’s bare metal game servers to host, distribute and update games across multiple nodes at scale. Its decision to go with OVHcloud stemmed from unique requirements that had to be met since the day it started its business.

“First, both professional gamers and hobbyists demand exceptional performance from their servers, with the lowest possible latency,” said Mitch Smith, CEO of Shockbyte. “This makes quality hardware, a high level of automation, and the ability to geolocate servers essential.

“Second, having already experienced the damage that DDoS [distributed denial-of-service] attacks could do at a different business, and been repeatedly unsatisfied with the protection offered by a previous provider, a robust anti-DDoS solution was vital,” he said.

Smith said scalability was also a key concern. Since day one, Shockbyte had planned on taking its hosting business global. Its ideal provider would therefore not only operate datacentres in all key locations but be able to provide proactive support as Shockbyte entered new markets.

With OVHcloud game servers, Smith said Shockbyte was not only able to tap on raw compute power, the company could also tap application programming interfaces (APIs) to automate specific processes and provide a range of tools to staff and customers.

For example, whenever new nodes are added to Shockbyte’s infrastructure, the OVHcloud API detects them automatically, and adds them to the monitoring system. Similarly, IP addresses are automatically migrated between nodes and assigned to customers whenever necessary, alleviating the need for routine network management.

“Something we love about OVHcloud is the high degree of automation, and the extensive API. It’s very rare that we even need to contact support, because we have access to virtually all of the tools we need,” Smith said.

The high level of automation at OVHcloud datacentres also meant that Shockbyte was able to deploy its server infrastructure almost instantly and start managing it straight away. These benefits were extended to customers, who appreciated the ease with which they could manage their servers autonomously.

“They could launch their games effortlessly via Shockbyte’s own control panel, regardless of their level of technical knowledge,” Smith said.

OVHcloud’s anti-DDoS offering also quickly proved its worth. Smith said Shockbyte has never experienced an outage related to a DDoS attack, even as its infrastructure has expanded to new locations, such as Singapore, Canada, France, Germany, UK and the US.

That Shockbyte was able to expand its business quickly was aided by OVHcloud’s 120-second deployment time. This gave Shockbyte the ability to take a highly agile approach to meeting customer requirements, and expanding its global reach, not just in terms of entering new locations, but deploying additional servers on an as-needed basis, to accommodate their busiest periods each year.

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