Database Server Hardware

On behalf of the Operations Team, and with blog writing music blasting on full (Skálmöld), I am privileged to be telling you about a huge project called Tranquility Tech III, which we plan to complete by early 2016.

The project is called TQ Tech III (TQ is short for “Tranquility”, the live server for EVE Online) because this is the third time the EVE infrastructure is physically moved, and CCP is now also making a significant investment in all new hardware (Network, Storage, and Servers) whilst moving it all to a new hosting facility within London.

We’ve accomplished such a herculean task a few times in the past. Here’s a quick trip down devblog memory lane to remind you:

In the continued commitment to EVE Forever, it is time for TQ to level up again, with new methods and technology having emerged to help inform us in our approach to running the super-complicated service and game and universe that is New Eden.

TQ Tech III has a many highlights which I’ll go over and enlist fellow devs to explain.

Warning: It’s about to get super tech-freaky up in here!

Added Redundancy

TQ’s storage is mirrored and redundant. The storage array has always been redundant but now we’ve added more failsafes.

There will be a full SAN mirror so that we can both maintain TQ and failover live, replicating a copy of the TQ Database across the ocean to Iceland, land of fire and ice.

From the storage side this is how TQ will look once we're done:

What you see here are 2x IBM SAN volume controllers which govern and control 2x IBM V5000 controllers which store all the data with 3x expansion shelves that house 9x800 GB SSD's with a grand total of 83x 1.2TB 10K SAS disks.

Remember this is all mirrored so double these disk numbers for the full picture!

All this lightning fast and redundant storage has to talk to servers...

The New Servers

Since day one, EVE has been operated by IBM blade servers. For the upgrade we chose the next generation of IBM servers called IBM FLEX.The above picture demonstrates 1x FLEX Chassis connections to its storage

The FLEX concept is similar to the blade centers in that there is a chassis which has power and cooling and you can have up to 14x nodes in each chassis.

In comparison, the current TQ blade centers run on 4x 1Gbit network connections then each of the 14x blade has access to 2x1GB as they have 2x network cards.

The new IBM Flex chassis will have 4x 10Gbit network connections, giving each flex node access a total of 2x 10Gbit throughput.

For the current way that EVE runs this is an overkill but having this in place allows for our engineers to test out interesting new ways to scale TQ and architecture performance, that will take time of course but the immediate benefit is that our deployment times will speed up a lot!

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