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Old 03-02-2010, 02:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What is needed to run a game server?

Just to clarify this I don't mean to rent a server from someone to use for your clan. I mean the actual physical buying and renting of the server (as in you're the seller, not the buyer).

Now on to the actual post:

I've been curious about this recently since it seems like a fun thing to do on the side for a bit of money once I'm older but I've run into numerous questions :

#1-What type of machine do you need? I know a video card isn't really needed and 100gb of HDD would probably be all that's needed. But besides that, what all would you need and what kind of budget would get you what you needed?

#2-What type of internet connection is required to run the games? Is it best to get different lines for each server?

#3-After establishing what connection(s) you need is it even possible to obtain such connections without having some sort of registered company?

#4-How many people can each machine run? One site I seen had dedicated servers up for $199/month and they also sell CSS servers for $0.79/slot. That puts it at needing 254 slots on that one machine in order to break even. So how many people can each machine hold?

#5-After figuring out how many people each machine holds ( I know it has a lot to do with the games too ) is it possible to make a decent profit with 1-5 servers or it this something you barely make a profit from and would need a bulk amount to make a good cut?


I might add more later. Thanks in advance for any information you can provide
(oh yea, I already discussed with someone on where this post should go and it seemed best to just go ahead and post it here..but move it if you don't feel the same way :\)
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is needed to run a game server?

#1 - Right, GPU isn't important, but you will want a lot of memory and probably a fast CPU. My recommendation would probably be to set up some VMs and run each server on those. In that case like 8 GB of RAM and a quad core would be good.

#2, #3 - I wouldn't do anything less than a 10mb connection. In that case your looking at a fast cable connection, or best yet, fiber. Depending on where you live and availability, you can get either without needing to be a business. If you were looking at doing this as a business you'd probably want to get a massive connection like 100mb. At that point you'd want to look at getting space in a data center.

#4 - I think the amount of people a machine could handle would be limited by the game and slot support from that game. Again, if you virtualized and ran each server on its own VM then you'd be fine with 5-10 VMs on one box (depending on the needs of each VM.)

#5 - There's so many variables that it's impossible to know if you'd make a profit until you got a set configuration down and knew how much you were going to charge for each server.

These are just my take on the situation. I've run a CoD2 and CSS:S and TS server on one desktop machine and it was a bit taxing. I had a massive university backbone so connection wasn't an issue at all. My servers were limited by RAM mostly.
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is needed to run a game server?

Thanks for the input so far

Bit confused on some parts though:

You make it sound like each game server requires it's own OS ...as in each game server will need to be ran on it's on VM. Why is this?

Also, is it 10mb connection per machine or per "game server"?


Besides those kinda confused moments good info. Have enough information now to kinda crunch some numbers on how much stuff will cost and that'll eventually put out a number of how much I'd have to earn to get a profit Thanks again
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is needed to run a game server?

You definitely don't need each server on its own VM, that's just what I would do. That's just from my experience of running multiple servers on one OS. For example, when I would do something in CS:S, it would lag in CoD2. I was running pretty old hardware though, so if you had a quad and a lot of RAM then it might not matter.

The 10mb connection would be your connection to the physical machine, so each server would share that connection. You'd have to just play with that and see what works. If your doing some VoIP then your going to use a lot more bandwidth than just hosting up some game servers. My TS was using a couple hundred MB per day with not a lot of usage.
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Old 03-02-2010, 06:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is needed to run a game server?

Okay that clears that up. So it just comes down to just experimenting to see what all you can do on each machine/VM.

Thanks Gonna go play with numbers now and see how much of an investment it would be n all that stuffs


EDIT: This can all be run on free OS right? as in linux?

EDIT2: Uhm k. $750 would get a nice i5-750 set up with 8gb of ddr3 RAM at 1600mhz. Add in a video card and that would be a monster system, so surely that would could host quite a few games on it. Add in a verizon FiOS line that's 25mb down. and 25mb up at $65/month (hopefully would be enough for 3 boxes :\ I've seen recommendations going from 1.5mb to 10mb needed for each box :\ so this gives a little under 10mb per box with 3 boxes). That doesn't seem THAT bad. Seems like the only rough part will be paying off the computers...then after that it'll be pretty easy. Each computer could hopefully hold 100 slots (going by your thing of 5 VMs, 20 slots per server) and at $1.00/slot (I've seen some go for a lot higher and some for a bit lower..I guess you're also paying for the quality of the host) that's $100/month. At that rate you're paying off the net bill every month and it'd take 22 months before you start making profit (time to pay off the rig).

But as I mentioned earlier I seen sites rent dedicated servers for $200/month. So i'm sure it'd come out cheaper per slot than just renting the game server. So if the slots cost $1.00 with the game server surely they would come out cheaper with the dedicated. Which means that'd the dedicated would have to hold like 200+ slots. And if that's a case you'd pay off my example rig in 6 months and start earning $100/month profit at that point.

Plus I know there would be a lot of extra costs involved. Electric, would be best to have a UPS, have a separate generator just for the servers in case the power goes out, etc etc etc.

Feel free to point out any flaws in my numbers/logic Any input is appreciated. Oh yea, do you think I would be able to squeeze out any information from websites that already do this?

EDIT3: Almost every server hosting site I see sells most games for under $1.00. So when it comes down to it I think each box would have to be able to hold at least 150 slots or else it wouldn't bring in much of a profit at all.

Is there anyway I could like do this on my current machine just to see how many servers I could run to get some test numbers?

EDIT4: So I e-mailed 3 hosting sites that do dedicated servers to hopefully get some sort of clue on what a machine can handle. So far one has e-mailed me back stating their "Intel Kentsfield 2.4ghz, 4GB DDR2 Ram, 160GB SATA HD" dedicated server can handle about 225 CoD4 slots before getting bogged down.

Gonna wait for the others to reply and try to get an average. But so far by that estimate surely the rig I stated previously could handle 250. Going with 250 this seems like it'd be quite profitable after you get the machine paid off.

Uhm k site2 replied and said it should be able to handle "100+ active slots" before being bogged down. This machine is "Core2 Quad 2.5GHz Q8300, 4GB DDR2, 250GB HDD".

Emailed another site, asking for their reply. Also found a website that said straight up said their "Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66 GHz ,2+ GB RAM , 250 GB HDD" machine held "250 max slots" that are CSS and that anything above that would reduce the numbers. They also have listed a core i7 920 rig (doesn't list any other specs) and claim it can handle 550 slots max , again using CSS as the test and saying any different game reduces the number.

So basically I have 225, 100, 250, and 550 as the number of slots. Averages out to 281 slots. Still have 2 sites to go though. Still looking good so far.
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is needed to run a game server?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflehammer View Post
Just to clarify this I don't mean to rent a server from someone to use for your clan. I mean the actual physical buying and renting of the server (as in you're the seller, not the buyer).

Now on to the actual post:

I've been curious about this recently since it seems like a fun thing to do on the side for a bit of money once I'm older but I've run into numerous questions :

#1-What type of machine do you need? I know a video card isn't really needed and 100gb of HDD would probably be all that's needed. But besides that, what all would you need and what kind of budget would get you what you needed?

Takes a lot to run severs. If you want to make sure your customers are getting fast and reliable servers buy time from a data center. Most people won't rent a server thats in someones basement. Data Centers are 100% always online (even when powers out) and they have connection speed (most of the time) that allow 32+ people to connect at once without lag.


#2-What type of internet connection is required to run the games? Is it best to get different lines for each server?

You would definitely need a business class connection.

#3-After establishing what connection(s) you need is it even possible to obtain such connections without having some sort of registered company?

It is, but not without having a download cap most of the time.


#4-How many people can each machine run? One site I seen had dedicated servers up for $199/month and they also sell CSS servers for $0.79/slot. That puts it at needing 254 slots on that one machine in order to break even. So how many people can each machine hold?

That sounds a lot like gameservers.com which are total crap. Every server I have ever been on hosted by them lagged terribly. In CS:S that might be possible but it will lag. That is the reason they are black listed.


#5-After figuring out how many people each machine holds ( I know it has a lot to do with the games too ) is it possible to make a decent profit with 1-5 servers or it this something you barely make a profit from and would need a bulk amount to make a good cut?

Eventually you will make a profit but it always starts out slow. (From what I've herd) You need to recruit friends and people to use servers so that they can spread the word and know your good.

I might add more later. Thanks in advance for any information you can provide
(oh yea, I already discussed with someone on where this post should go and it seemed best to just go ahead and post it here..but move it if you don't feel the same way :\)
You should really look at the server companies that sponsor the big events and that have reliability and credibility. Velocity-Servers.net, Game Server Rentals and Hosting :: Home :: NFOservers, artofwarcentral.com, and few others. Please oh PLEASE do not use gameservers.com as a source. I cannot stress this enough!
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is needed to run a game server?

Actually almost all server sites had them for $0.79/slot..not just gameservers. Besides the prices I used about 5 websites as sources for the numbers I've used.

Questions though:

Why is the business class connection required? I've seen multiple sources say you only need 5-10mb connection per box in order to run things smoothly.

Why the big negative point on the "basement" thing lol? I've seen quite a few of these types of sites succeed while being basement dwellers. And I was only aiming for 3-5 machines max, it's not like I was going to try to manage a whole warehouse by myself. And the power thing is a non issue.

Thanks for the input though
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is needed to run a game server?

Keep in mind that a dedicated server is usually just a VM that you can install whatever on. That's why they are more money. The $1.00 per slot servers are usually configured through some web interface (like a Cpanel kinda thing) and it is just running your game. Dedicated servers will give you remote access to the OS with admin rights so you can install games and VoIP and stuff like that.

If your seriously considering doing this you might want to just co-lo some hardware at a data center. It's like $100/machine (depending on the data center) and they provide the power, security, redundancy, Internet connection, and the physical environment. You could even just go virtual with them where they provide all the hardware and you rent VMs.
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is needed to run a game server?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflehammer View Post
Actually almost all server sites had them for $0.79/slot..not just gameservers. Besides the prices I used about 5 websites as sources for the numbers I've used.

Questions though:

Why is the business class connection required? I've seen multiple sources say you only need 5-10mb connection per box in order to run things smoothly.

Why the big negative point on the "basement" thing lol? I've seen quite a few of these types of sites succeed while being basement dwellers. And I was only aiming for 3-5 machines max, it's not like I was going to try to manage a whole warehouse by myself. And the power thing is a non issue.

Thanks for the input though
Please name a few sites that are basement dwellers. I just want to know. Most home connections have bandwidth caps. 5-10mb IMHO isn't enough to host 32 man games x4. Basement things don't work because people/clans want reliability. Data Center is the only way to go.
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Old 03-03-2010, 05:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is needed to run a game server?

I swear on my life I've seen them before..but I can't find any now :P But seriously I've seen a couple before, sure it was years ago when servers were like $4/slot but if they existed then I'm sure they can exist now.


Well, just to dig deeper into this so I don't seem like an uneducated fool I came across some more information about the connection thing.

Verizon FiOS has NO bandwidth cap. Even their TOS has no mentions of "in our world unlimited just means normal use blah blah blah" the only thing it says is if it's an "irregular" amount they will monitor your connection (pirating is my guess).

Also, in order to hosts servers with their connections you have to upgrade to a "commercial account". Which is like $30/month more expensive and you get the choice between static/dynamic IP.

That being said I still don't see the difference between a "mom and pop" type server host and then the "mom and pop" going through a data center. It just seems like you're paying them 90% of the profit when it could be you doing the job. And it's only 3-5 servers. I'm sure each guy at those data centers watch over more than one rack of servers so don't even act like it requires a team of network engineers to watch over 1 server lol.

And as I said before, the power outage thing isn't an issue. Those types of things will be taken care of(man invented this great thing called solar power..........plus last time I checked residential homes were allowed to purchase and use generators for back up power :P).

I'm really not trying to be a ***** or anything. And I know it's harder than I am making it sound. But I really don't think it's as hard as you're making it sound. It's like me------whatitreallyis------you...lol. So yea, more constructive criticism/information is helpful but I would like some more positive attitudes :P not all this " unless you do it this way YOU WILL FAIL " stuffs please lol
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