Cloud Computing Support for Massively Social Gaming (Rain for the Thirsty)

Microsoft MSR Conference on Cloud Futures 2010

Download PDF Slides


Cloud computing is a promising paradigm for IT, in which the infrastructure, the platform, and even the software are outsourced services. As a new-formed community, we have already run out of hyperbole at the prospects of cloud computing. Still, we lack an understanding of the true capabilities of this paradigm. This talk covers the cloud-related research agenda and the vision for the future of a team of grid and peer-to-peer veterans becoming cloud explorers (

Our main goal is to design and build fully functional, cloud-based systems, and to uncover in the process the fundamental laws that govern their operation. We currently focus on the continuous analysis of player status for massively social games such as RuneScape and FarmVille. As a use case, we consider third-parties that build and maintain player communities, and rely on continuous game analytics to improve the experience of their own users; these have millions of daily requests and relatively strict service response time requirements.

This talk includes a summary of our two-year, hands-on experience with clouds. We have built CAMEO, a cloud-based, continuous analytics platform, and acquired and analyzed the status of almost 3,000,000 RuneScape players. We have also evaluated the performance of four clouds (Amazon Web Services, ElasticHosts, Mosso, and GoGrid) using various benchmarks. Further, we have assessed the performance variation over the complete year 2009 of AWS and Google App Engine services. Based on our experience, we foresee that clouds will become a viable solution for small enterprises and startup social applications.