Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) is a recognized worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online games, with millions of gamers around the globe having enjoyed the company's products over the years. SOE has developed or published many ground-breaking and genre-defining games, including EverQuest®, EverQuest II®, Star Wars Galaxies®, PlanetSide®, The Matrix Online®, and many more.
SOE's database needs are considerable, and its database applications are the very definition of mission-critical: hundreds of thousands of online users play SOE's games around the clock, and each game is an extraordinarily database-intensive application. Before SOE selected EnterpriseDB® (EDB™), dozens of Oracle® 9i RAC clusters were in use. In addition, SOE deploys databases in its back-office operations and to support its user forum and online auction websites.
Examining its business, SOE found that its Oracle databases were extremely expensive and that Oracle's licensing practices were inflexible and restrictive. At the same time, the company experienced a constant demand for the creation and maintenance of additional databases. Like many other companies today, SOE hoped that open source software might provide a solution to this business challenge.
SOE was correct. Open source-based software from EDB provided SOE with a solution to its business challenge: SOE found a way to reduce its database TCO by nearly 80% and realized a licensing flexibility critical to its organization.
Building on a History of Open Source Success
SOE has a history of success with open source software. The company has already successfully deployed Linux, Tomcat, Apache, and Hibernate. As early as 2005, the company began to investigate open source alternatives to Oracle that would have both a lower TCO and greater licensing flexibility. SOE also sought to leverage their valuable asset of in-house Oracle talent. SOE used four primary criteria in its selection of an open source database:
- Ability to leverage its existing database administrator and developer talent
- Ease of moving SOE's existing Oracle applications to the new database
- Commercial-grade quality and reliability, including backup and recovery standards, to support mission-critical applications
- Scalable, high performance execution
EDB: A Clear Winner
At the end of a thorough review and selection process, SOE chose the EDB Postgres™ Advanced Server. An important factor in SOE's decision was the database compatibility for Oracle in the EDB Postgres Advanced Server, which enabled the database to run database applications written for Oracle. SOE found that 80% of the applications it had selected to move from Oracle ran on EDB Postgres Advanced Server with little or no modification and that its Oracle-trained staff could immediately work comfortably and efficiently with EDB Postgres Advanced Server. Another important factor was EDB Postgres Advanced Server's PostgreSQL foundation, which guaranteed the reliability and stability that SOE required. Finally, EDB Postgres Advanced Server was available for only a small fraction of the cost of Oracle.
From Oracle to EDB
SOE has evaluated the move of the massively multiplayer game The Matrix Online from Oracle to EDB Postgres Advanced Server, and the transition is planned for later this year. SOE is very pleased with the results of its testing to date, and it anticipated that new massively multiplayer online games would be deployed on EDB in 2009. When the deployments are complete, EDB Postgres Advanced Server will be running on hundreds of SOE servers around the world.
High Availability on EDB Postgres
SOE's online games require high-availability database solutions. To achieve this, SOE will run EDB Postgres on a multi-node cluster with an idle node available for failover. Tests run by SOE have shown a very reasonable failover time using EDB in this configuration when scripted at the operating system level. The renowned stability of PostgreSQL additionally means that EDB Postgres Advanced Server's failover capability will seldom be needed.
Online Game User Forums on EDB Postgres
SOE uses custom J-Forums to power the user forums for its online games. Previously, SOE used a hosted forum solution that ran on MySQL. When SOE found that the hosted solution couldn't easily be modified and new features couldn't easily be added, J-Forum was brought in-house and run on EDB Postgres Advanced Server. The deployment so far has been a resounding success. Half of SOE's online forums are now live on EDB Postgres Advanced Server, and the remainder will go live on EDB in the coming months.
SOE is receiving terrific technical support from the EDB team. Callbacks have been rapid, and the abundance of helpful solutions and example code compares very favorably with the technical support SOE receives from Oracle.
SOE is extremely pleased with the success it has already had with EDB and plans to continue moving applications from Oracle to EDB Postgres Advanced Server to realize even greater cost savings. SOE's future massively multiplayer online games are expected to be deployed solely on EDB and, within 18 months, hundreds of servers around the world will run EDB Postgres Advanced Server.