The launch of video game Grand Theft Auto 5 was undoubtedly a runaway success, racking up more than $1billion in sales in its first three days and setting six Guinness world records in the process. However, simple server monitoring problems have left the game’s creator, RockStar North, in a vulnerable position.
The company has admitted that it didn’t anticipate such popularity, and it is working “around the clock” to buy and add more servers. With the prospect of “servers crashing under demand,” RockStar North is typical of many businesses that may have overlooked the double edged sword of success – as demand for data increases, so does the need for energy consumption within the data centre. In this instance they have not prepared for the unexpected scale of popularity and now their reputation hangs in the balance.
Given that demand appears to be the culprit here it is worth remembering energy is still highly desired and accurate measurement of consumption (closely related to the rate of CPU) could have helped RockStar North to identify its server’s true activity and efficiency. Higher CPU utilisation reflects higher processing or increasing workload activity, which in turn requires more energy.
An easy solution
Monitoring and managing energy of either individual or groups of servers is easily undertaken by today's infrastructure technology, so the solution already exists to overcome this type of problem. More education and awareness is needed to ensure that businesses are taking full advantage.
Top of the range intelligent energy metering PDUs (power distribution units) and environmental sensors sit behind the rack and can actively monitor the data centre environment. Continually looking for threats from electrical circuit overloads, and any conditions which might place critical IT computing loads at risk, the PDU is a small but vital part of the energy supply chain. This technology enables data centre and facilities managers to make informed capacity planning decisions, improve uptime, measure PUE (power usage effectiveness) and support green initiatives.
Organisations, from the gaming industry and beyond, need to change the way they plan and measure resources. Rather than sitting back and reacting when the worst happens, organisations should continuously monitor resources and take a proactive approach by seeking out threats before they ever happen. They need to plan for the threat of extreme success or it could be game over.
Guest Blog by Eddie Desouza, Global Marketing & Communications Director, Enlogic