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1-24-2008 @ 5:47PM
"each realm has at least three or four servers running on it"Is this a documented fact? I always assumed 1 realm = 1 server. I suppose each realm could actually be a server cluster though.Also keep in mind these servers are probably top notch machines. If you haven't priced Dell servers lately, they are crazy expensive. It's nothing for a server to cost $8-10k. Blizz may be paying much, much more than that (and I emphasize the "much").
1-24-2008 @ 6:33PM
3-4 is probably a very conservative estimate. Realms are most certainly clusters of servers, though they almost certainly are not the rack mount Dell kit you'd look at on their website.I'd guess they have a mixture of databases for things like auction house transactions, bank contents, persistent character data storage, mailbox functions, etc. Then the live world likely runs on a cluster of machines which handle mob behavior, spawning, resource spawning, arbitrating combat, etc. Its pretty well understood from observation that instances seem to run independently of both Azeroth and Outland which also pretty clearly run independently of each other. Whether the servers load balance population based on zone location within the larger grouping of Azeroth and Outland is anyones guess, and which zones are grouped together is likely based more on average populations than "geographical proximity" on the map. The key to running a server farm the size of Blizzards and keeping the most people the most happy the largest percentage of the time is spreading the load evenly. This brings an interesting question up for those realms currently experiencing queues, namely would logging out in a low population area such as Desolace net you a shorter queue or is population for that controlled on a realm level?
1-24-2008 @ 6:59PM
3-4 servers probably wouldn't run the auction house at peak hours. If you were to count the individual servers (remember, the common image of this big black refridgerator sized box is not a server, it's a case that can contain a dozen or more individual servers) that make an entire realm work, it's likely going to be well over a hundred. Even if you count them in groups, it's still going to be more than 3 or 4. You've got one or more running: the mail, the auction house, probably the bank, several running the each continent, etc. One of the things I've always wanted to see from Blizzard is a tour of one of the realm's physical locations. I'm sure there's some information they'd like to keep private, but still, I'd like to see just how much room it actually takes to house.
1-24-2008 @ 7:14PM
Instances, raid dungeons, etc are run on a separate server. I think outland and azeroth may be different, too, hence the ability for outlands to "crash" yet azeroth be fine.
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