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Today's massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) can include millions of concurrent players spread across the world. To keep these highly-interactive virtual environments online, a MMOG operator may need to provision tens of thousands of computing resources from various data centers. Faced with large resource demand variability, and with misfit resource renting policies, the current industry practice is to maintain for each game tens of self-owned data centers. In this work we investigate the dynamic resource provisioning from external data centers for MMOG operation. We introduce a novel MMOG workload model that represents the dynamics of both the player population and the player interactions. We evaluate several algorithms, including a novel neural network predictor, for predicting the resource demand. Using trace-based simulation, we evaluate the impact of the data center policies on the resource provisioning efficiency; we show that dynamic provisioning can be much more efficient than its static alternative.
Date of Conference: 15-21 Nov. 2008