David, from Versant, talks about scaling your MMO
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Interviewer: I’m here at the Austin Game Developers Conference and with me today is a special guest. How about you introduce yourself?
David: David Ingersoll, Vice-President of Sales for Versant Corporation.
Interviewer: What’s Versant about?
David: We’re really all about database scalability. Our company specializes in object transaction servers, so allowing MMO gamers to highly scale their game playing experience.
Interviewer: You know, a lot of these upcoming game trends are about online services, so how is your system better than using MySQL or some of these other open source solutions?
David: Great question. In fact, we’re working with some hosting companies because they own the production operations of these massive games, they’re all about efficiencies and that’s what we do. We’ve had a game who, in their benchmarking, found that we were about 10 times more productive than their MySQL, so we’re probably orders of magnitude and efficiencies versus traditional relational technology that most players might be familiar with.
Interviewer: Does your technology scale? I mean, then can you handle millions of transactions a day? If a MMO has millions of users a day, is your technology available for that, or is that something where someone else has to go to another system to do?
David: No, actually that’s the sweet spot. Great question and while we’re recently entered into the MMO market, the company has been around for over two decades. And we can point to some of our defense or commercial customers who are running hundred thousand TPS. It’s Saber, the airline reservation system or folks like Verizon’s fraud detection system called Sheriff.
Interviewer: Do you see any specific challenges that you have to address for the MMO space that you haven’t had to address in other spaces?
David: The biggest challenge isn’t necessarily technological. It’s really just education of the market. Our server, because it’s tightly integrated into the development languages the game developers are familiar with, like .net, Java and C++, it was just a really natural fit for them to then take the next step to do direct object persistence versus breaking up the relational structures necessary to store like a MySQL or Oracle.
Interviewer: For indie game developers then, how do they get started and what’s the pricing structure? Is it something that mainly bigger studios can handle, or how can indie studios handle this?
David: We’re taking kind of a dual strategy. We do have a lower end open source product called db4objects, so MySQL is free to download, free to use for internal applications. There’s a small royalty if you decide to do a commercial offering, and then for the massively scalable stuff that’s where the Versant commercial offering comes on. And we’re very flexible as far as royalty sharing or outright purchase of the software, based on core architecture.
Interviewer: What’s the site where they can visit to get started?
David: What’s that?
Interviewer: What’s the website where they can get started?
David: Yeah, please visit us at www.versant.com or www.db4o.com.
Thank you very much.