There are a lot of factors at play hosting an online community where users create all the content. Nicholas Lee, vice-president of technology at Montreal-based Woozworld Inc., makers of Woozworld.com, said that even with younger users, uptime is critical. “It’s a lot of data transfer between users and the server but also between all the users,” Lee said. “This is real time communication so it requires a really stable hosting environment and network.”
Due to the nature of online gaming and communities, Lee knew that Woozworld’s needs would change a lot month to month. His old hosting provider “was another data centre where we didn’t check about the scaling capacity and how that company could provide equipment fast.”
So Lee looked at his options and found that the service structure offered by Montreal-based PEER 1 Hosting was more suited to Woozworld’s needs.
Tamara Backus, director of sales at PEER 1, said Woozworld isn’t the first gaming Web site to utilize its service. “A lot of gaming companies are coming to PEER1 because of our Internet backbone that we have,” she said. “It interconnects all 18 data centers that we have across Canada, around the US and over into the UK. What that means for our clients is it’s lower latency and much much faster speeds for their clients.”
The difference for online gamers between a steady connection and an unsteady one can be monumental.
For Woozworld, if the connection is lost between two users or a user and the world, they’re ripped out of the experience, something, Lee said, which can send them straight to a competitors product. “In our case, if we lose the connection for even a second, the user loses his context and he cannot play anymore,” Lee said. “If you’re in the middle of an event and you lose the context it’s bad. It might cause users to leave Woozworld because they were losing connections pretty often.”
And the fact that most of Woozworld is created by it’s tween player base, through a set of tools provided by the developers, puts a huge emphasis on large data transfers between players. “When you get into UGC (user-generated-content), that means that a lot of information is provided and created by the user, and you need to store and also share it in nearly real time. This information is persistent,” he said. “The challenge of handling all the requests and the data that comes from the user is pretty high.”
And because gaming trends ebb and flow, Lee said Woozworld needed a service that could flex to its needs and react quickly to equipment challenges.
Backus said PEER 1 is the preference of the gaming industry in Canada because of that scaleability. “The gaming industry probably leads the world in internet usage,” she said. “So, it’s a little different than some other industries. The gaming industry needs (a service)…that can scale up and down quickly.”
Lee is satisfied in the fact that Woozworld can now provide a good product no matter the demand. “There’s so many products available online you need to get the best experience for the end user,” Lee said. And with PEER 1, he’s confident now that he can do it.