SMOG: A Cloud Platform for Seamless Wide area Migration of Networked Games
The 11th Annual Workshop on Network and Systems Support for Games (NetGames) 2012.
Highly interactive network applications such as online games are rapidly growing in popularity but remain challenging for game providers to support, due to their inherent need for low latency. While cloud computing has proven a useful infrastructure for other applications, existing cloud computing facilities are insufficient for games, due to the unpredictability of their workload, their demands on latency and scale, and the need to support game-specific requirements (e.g., players may wish to play with certain other players already in the game). In this work, we explore whether dynamic optimization of latency and scaling of games can be achieved by supplementing cloud computing infrastructure with seamless wide area virtual machine migration using network based route control. We propose SMOG, a framework that dynamically migrates game servers to their optimal location, and uses orchestrated route control to optimize the network path to the server to minimize observable effects of live server migration. 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. While this paper’s focus is online games, SMOG is general enough to be used for a variety of latency- sensitive interactive applications such as video conferencing and interactive video streaming.