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EC2/Cloudwatch Gaming Results

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to capture some real world info on hosting a game server in the cloud. The results were a rousing success. We had 5 or 6 people connected at various times, played some Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, and everyone had a ping of 40 or less the entire time. I didn’t notice any latency whatsoever and there were absolutely no packet loss or lag complaints throughout.

Cost

I haven’t broken down the numbers yet, but all told I started up an EC2 instance and hosted a game for 2 hours. I also attached an elastic IP for ease of use. That cost me less than $0.50. I’d say that’s a pretty good deal.

Usage

Below are the usage stats for network I/O and CPU usage. I gathered these using my simple Java application and created these no-frills charts in Microsoft Excel (all told, this took about 5 minutes to put together):

network io Figure 1 - Network I/O over a 2 hour F.E.A.R. game

cpu usage Figure 2 - CPU Usage over a 2 hour F.E.A.R. game

Conclusion

This is a short and imperfect analysis, but overall I’d say the “small” EC2 instance could easily have handled a 16 person game, both from a load and network traffic standpoint, and it would have cost me a dollar or so to host for 2 hours. That seems like great bang for your buck if you’re looking to crank up a quick game and then move on to something else.

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