When it comes to the technology infrastructure that supports their operations, gaming industry businesses are unusual. Very unusual. This is because online gaming is one of the few use cases that require more capability than even the great hyperscale cloud providers can provide. Consumers demand seamless, low-latency performance and the best possible experience, and that requires something special.
It’s for this reason that Nitrado, an online game server hosting company operates its own global infrastructure. It’s also why, when it needed to expand its business, it turned to Gcore as its cloud partner of choice.
Nitrado, which is owned by marbis GmbH, supports a portfolio of approximately 130 games, including the ever-popular Minecraft. The key focus of Nitrado’s 200-strong workforce is to deliver the best possible user experience to customers. To that end, the company works closely with publishers and game developers to secure early access to new games for its online user community.
In addition, Nitrado hosts its own gaming infrastructure in third-party data centers, and it often rents dedicated server power to customers to improve their gaming experience. The gaming infrastructure operated by Nitrado runs at a total power of 220,661 GHz and has 1,233,019 GB of RAM storage capacity.
Gearing up for growth
Nitrado has built a global gaming infrastructure of data centers, internet exchanges, and direct peering links with internet service providers in key locations such as Frankfurt, London, Sydney, Singapore and the USA. Doing so, Nitrado ensures that gaming traffic always takes the shortest possible route to its destination, helping to reduce latency and deliver a great gaming experience to customers.
Nitrado has recently entered a phase of rapid growth that requires increasing its infrastructure footprint in a different way. This growth has been driven by the pandemic, which has given a significant boost to the gaming industry. According to Statista, worldwide revenues from cloud gaming amounted to $1.48 billion in 2021, and are expected to rise to around $6.3 billion in 2024.
New markets, new challenges
Nitrado’s goal was to meet new demand through two new infrastructure hubs in Tokyo and São Paulo. However, in doing so the company faced several challenges. First, it needed to find a rapid way to establish a presence in these markets, which can be challenging to enter due to language barriers and complex legal and bureaucratic obligations. Second, Nitrado needed to ensure that the infrastructure in place at these hubs would be able to deliver the high levels of low latency and performance required to deliver seamless digital gaming experiences.
The online, multiplayer cloud-based games provided by Nitrado place a huge demand on hardware, and the highest levels of performance are required to deliver low-latency play. This is particularly challenging during the winter months, when demand for gaming servers increases by an average of 20%. Similar demand peaks can also take place within just 24 hours, and it is essential that Nitrado and its partners can successfully balance loads to deliver that seamless experience.
Exacerbating this challenge is the fact that games are often not programmed to work optimally with the supporting hardware. For example, the load of games cannot be distributed across multiple servers without impacting the gaming experience. For this reason, Nitrado configures its own hardware and uses high-performance server models such as Intel® Xeon® E-2388G and Gold® 6348. These offer stable and high clock speeds even under a heavy load.
Partnering for growth
Given the cultural, legal and bureaucratic challenges of its new target markets. Nitrado opted to work with Gcore, a global cloud infrastructure provider. By partnering with Gcore, Nitrado gained instant access to 150 points of presence across five continents, 15 cloud locations, and 25 data centers with servers. Access to Gcore’s technology and expertise also meant that Nitrado could make the leap to two new continents with ease, safe in the knowledge that all legal and bureaucratic requirements were met.
For the Tokyo and São Paulo deployments, Gcore undertook all project management duties, including communication and logistics, securing the necessary paperwork (which was particularly challenging in São Paulo), importing and setting up servers, and securing contracts with local service providers. Gcore thereby ensured that Nitrado’s entry into the South American and Japanese games hosting markets was friction free and rapid, delivering significant time and resource savings.
High performance guaranteed
The second key benefit of working with Gcore is that Nitrado can deliver the same high user experience to Latin American and Japanese customers it does to the customers it serves through its own servers and data centers.
The performance of the hardware combined with the significantly better price-performance ratio of Gcore is the main reason why we do not rent our infrastructure from one of the hyperscalers.
Marcel BößendörferManaging Director at Nitrado
The solution set delivered by Gcore delivers low-latency, high-performance gaming through the following infrastructure services:
- Bare metal services: To cushion extreme peak loads or to scale at short notice. Bare metal servers are more secure than cloud solutions, as the resources are not shared with other customers.
- IP transit at all locations: Gcore has a direct connection to high-bandwidth Tier I and II Internet providers in the respective countries. In addition, Gcore is also available as the primary internet connection to ensure that gaming traffic always takes the shortest route possible to provide customers with a good gaming experience.
- Colocation: Renting space in data centers, including the necessary infrastructure such as server cooling, security and support for the company’s own servers.
“With Gcore, we have managed to standardize our global expansion and cover regions where it would have been very difficult to gain a foothold on our own,” says Marcel Bößendörfer. “The cloud provider has the expertise we need in low latency and high server performance. In addition, it knows the needs of a game hoster in expanding our online business worldwide and has the necessary structures for on-site implementation.”