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Title:Enabling seamless wide area migration of online games
Author(s):Jalaparti, Virajith
Advisor(s):Caesar, Matthew C.
Department / Program:Computer Science
Discipline:Computer Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Online games
Interactive applications
User experience
Wide area virtual machine migration
Abstract:Highly interactive network applications such as online games are rapidly growing in popularity and make up a multi-billion dollar industry. However, they remain challenging for game providers to support due to their inherent need for low latency, unpredictability in workloads, the need to support application-specific requirements (e.g., players may wish to play with certain other players already in the game) and their scale. Cloud computing has proven to be a useful alternative to host a variety of online services. While eliminating the costs of owning the physical infrastructure and maintenance, cloud services provide several benefits such as providing agility and reliability for applications. However, existing cloud computing facilities are insufficient for hosting games due to their lack of application-specific primitives and the stringent requirements of online games. In this work, we first perform an experimental study using real world deployments of several popular games to understand the characteristics of online games. We find that games can benefit from dynamic allocation and seamless migration of resources across the wide-area to operate efficiently and provide the best user experience. To meet these requirements, we propose SMOG, a framework that dynamically migrates game servers to their optimal location, using orchestrated route control to optimize the network path to the server. Through deployment of a prototype implementation on a Tier-1 ISP's backbone and a user study, we found SMOG can decrease average end-user latency by up to 60% while performing migration in a manner transparent to game players. We further find that SMOG provides benefits under a variety of realistic operating conditions, tolerating variation in application load, network latency and bandwidth available for migration. While we focus on online games in this work, SMOG is general enough to be used for a variety of latency-sensitive interactive applications such as video conferencing and interactive video streaming.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Virajith Jalaparti
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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