Whenever you think of adding hardware to your infrastructure, the immediate assumption is that it will cost thousands of dollars upfront. The fact is that a game CDN is actually an inexpensive way to improve performance, increase availability and reliability, and better your content security. It costs much more to have your server crash due to high levels of traffic compared to the low-cost, scalable addition of a CDN.
Gaming Content Delivery
For game developers, content is always pushed to clients. Whether it’s a mobile app or a desktop gaming application, content is pushed to users during updates and expansions. It’s during this time that severe performance degradation happens. Too many users connect to the server at once, and at the very worst it could crash due to too much traffic. It’s similar to a DDoS, but the traffic is legitimate and isn’t malicious.
A CDN can completely eliminate the overhead during these deployments. Using a CDN, content is pushed to data centers that house edge servers in different geographic locations. These edge servers store updates and expansions in server cache, which is a very fast way to store data. Data stored in cache is processed by the server without the database lookups of normal requests.
When a user requests data, the request is sent to the closest edge server available. If for any reason this server is overloaded or unavailable, a CDN will send traffic to the next closest server available. It’s the difference of losing traffic and customers to a crashed server or having users connect to available resources.
Performance and Scalable Costs
Performance enhancements in the IT world usually means high costs and employee time to install the equipment. It usually means employees must spend time maintaining the new equipment. This isn’t the case with a CDN deployment. The site can be configured to use the CDN, and after its configuration no maintenance or changes are needed. Configure your servers, and that’s all it takes. The CDN takes care of the rest.
Costs don’t have to be astronomical to get started with a CDN. You can pay as you go and start with $.0125 per gigabyte at CDN.net. What’s beneficial for developers is that costs scale with your game (or any application) popularity. If your peak traffic is seasonal, your costs are lowered based on slower months. When your season is back to high traffic, then you harness a CDN’s performance benefits with scaled costs.
A crashed server can cost a large, enterprise level application to cost millions in downtime. The cost to implement a CDN is far lower compared to the catastrophic downtime that can happen when you host only one server at a specific location. You can still keep your host and any origin servers, so implementing a CDN into your infrastructure takes very little time.
Several well-known gaming communities use CDNs to create a reliable and stable platform for customers. Without one, developers risk losing gamers to high ping times, choppy content delivery, and poor speeds. Implementing a CDN into your infrastructure is a valuable way to maintain reliability, and it’s an inexpensive part of your deployment.