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Using OpenNebula + Kubernetes to Deploy Multiplayer Game Servers on the Edge

📘 Check the step-by-step tutorial on how to easily set up or extend an OpenNebula environment with Kubernetes clusters on the Edge, by visiting the OpenNebula Customer Portal Knowledge Base.

The growth of on-line multiplayer gaming across the globe is pushing the limits of the requirements that come with the ever-growing need for low latency. Higher latency hurts the players’ gaming experience and harms the reputation of the gaming company providing the service. Needless to say, having to deal with unpredictable lags when engaged, for instance, in a competitive multiplayer game can be especially frustrating…

The need for low latency in on-line gaming requires moving beyond a “centralized cloud approach” and adopting instead a “distributed edge model”. Today, the most innovative gaming and entertainment companies—and their customers—are starting to experience first-hand the many benefits derived from setting up a distributed infrastructure. This new model provides players with a much better gaming experience, especially in fast-paced environments such as First Person Shooter (FPS) and Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) video games. 

Since the release of version 5.8—codenamed ‘Edge’—OpenNebula incorporates a number of key features for creating and managing highly distributed cloud infrastructures (i.e. edge computing infrastructures). By using edge node provisioning tools, OpenNebula makes use of already available resources offered by third-party bare-metal providers like Packet (now part of Equinix) or AWS. In this way, cloud admins can expand their private clouds in a flexible way, incorporating when necessary the distributed dedicated infrastructure they might need to satisfy their users’ requirements of low latency.

OpenNebula, by leveraging edge computing infrastructure, simplifies significantly the process of provisioning and managing edge resources. This allows gaming companies, for example, to easily create their own edge environments and to manage them in a simple way, without having to provide or own those underlying resources at all.

In a previous post we already showcased OpenNebula’s edge computing capabilities, that time applied to the use case of a gaming company releasing a new video game to a global audience.

With the recent addition of a Kubernetes appliance to our public Marketplace, OpenNebula makes it much easier now for cloud admins to deploy, configure and manage multiple Kubernetes clusters on the edge. OpenNebula can provide gaming companies with an automated solution through which they can build their own light and agile edge computing environment. On top of that, they can easily provision multiple Kubernetes clusters on edge nodes in close proximity to gamers, thus reducing latency and providing the best gaming experience to their customers.

To showcase how one can use OpenNebula for the quick deployment of multiple Kubernetes clusters on the edge for multiplayer gaming, we have chosen one of the latest open source projects that has been added to the Kubernetes ecosystem: Agones. This platform, developed by Google and Ubisoft, offers a solution for hosting, running and scaling dedicated game servers on Kubernetes

We hope you will find the following screencast useful. It introduces OpenNebula’s powerful Edge Computing capabilities and our new Kubernetes service appliance, along with the Agones platform. All that as part of a step-by-step demo on how to use these tools to deploy, using Packet bare-metal resources on the edge, a dedicated game server for Xonotic—the well-known open source FPS multiplayer game. As usual, feedback is more than welcome, either as a comment below or via our Community Forum. Enjoy! 🤓

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Marco Mancini

Cloud Technical Evangelist at OpenNebula

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