InData, a virtual and physical IT infrastructure partner, has discovered a hyper-converged infrastructure market in the video game industry.
The video game industry has emerged as a hyper-converged infrastructure market for one channel partner based in the Los Angeles area.
Innovative Data Consulting Inc. (InData), a company based in Valencia, Calif., that provides physical and virtual IT infrastructure and services, has picked up some HCI wins among game companies that need high-performance, on-premises infrastructure to deal with graphically demanding applications. And there are plenty of companies that fit that profile in Los Angeles, with a number of major studios and indie game developers operating in the region.
Video game developers are definitely a big part of the economy down here,” said Mike Braico, CEO at InData.
InData recently landed a project with a large game developer that Braico said ran a traditional IT infrastructure that involved Dell servers, NetApp appliances and the need to move data back and forth between servers and storage with minimal latency. The key application relying on the infrastructure is a propriety game development and asset management system. Developers use the system to make 3D models and landscapes, storing them in an asset database from which they can be retrieved for reuse.
At end of day, cloud is only as good as how much bandwidth you have in your facility.
The game development client, which had encountered some network bottlenecks, began weighing future infrastructure directions, considering both cloud computing and on-premises approaches.
“We had an opportunity to work with them and talk about what their next-generation architecture would be,” Braico noted.
Hyper-converged infrastructure market: A game firm benefits
Early on, InData saw that the developer would benefit from HCI — having server, storage and networking all in one system, he added. InData pointed the company toward Pivot3, a product vendor in the hyper-converged infrastructure market.
The client now uses a Pivot3 HCI system that incorporates an NS-3000 flash storage array withi a hyper-converged array running vOS7 for VMware ESXi 6. The company had previously used disk storage with its NetApp appliance. Braico said the addition of flash speeds up the customer’s asset database. In addition, InData also upgraded the developer’s network to 40 Gigabit Ethernet for improved local server-storage connectivity.
Overall, the new system is much faster than the previous generation of technology, Braico said.
“With the new HCI flash storage, response time went from seconds to milliseconds,” he said. “There is essentially no wait time now for responses from the Pivot3 system.”
“In the case of these video game developers, there’s no way they could replicate the speed, performance of the on-premises system in the cloud,” he said. “It’s not there yet. At end of day, cloud is only as good as how much bandwidth you have in your facility.”
Braico said there are ways of getting better cloud performance, such as using a private network and paying for a direct connection between an organization’s data center and Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. But, on the other hand, “you can’t beat the performance of local storage,” he said, noting that customers staying with on-premises infrastructure can also avoid the cost of paying for extra bandwidth in and out of their facilities.
Expanding VDI’s reach
InData, meanwhile, is working with another video game industry customer that faced the challenge of pulling together a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that could accommodate a graphically intensive use case. The customer wanted to tap VDI to stream video from its data center to users equipped with thin clients.
In the past, such customers wouldn’t have been able to “keep everything in the data center” in a VDI deployment and deliver top-end graphics with acceptable latency, Braico said.
“The technology hasn’t been there from a graphics card standpoint,” he added.
But today, Pivot3 and graphics card maker NVIDIA make high-end graphics and extremely low latency possible for VDI deployments, Braico said.
In 2014, Pivot3 unveiled graphics acceleration options for VDI environments, employing NVIDIA GRID technology, which offloads graphics processing from a hardware device’s central processing unit to the graphics processing unit. Braico also cited NVIDIA’s Tesla M60 GPU accelerator, which works with NVIDIA GRID, as enabling rigorous VDI installations.
Braico said the same link up between Pivot3’s HCI offerings and NVIDIA technology can also find a home among computer-aided design engineering firms, aerospace companies and architectural firms. The combination expands the high-end graphics segment of the hyper-converged infrastructure market beyond video game developers.
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“It has a wide, sweeping opportunity across many verticals,” Braico said. “It is really exciting.”