[MUD-Dev] Database vs. Disk

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Wed May 21 15:05:58 CEST 2003

On Mon, 19 May 2003 13:43:42 -0500 
Weston Fryatt <wfryatt at muuf.com> wrote:
> From: "Tom" <tom at interspaces.com>

> I personally think that today's "high end" database servers are
> very capable of handling the loads of an MMOG.

Handling the load is not the problem.  Current large scale RDBMSes
are optimised for well known and understood access patterns.
Current DBAs are well trained in developing efficient data
representation models which suit the access patterns that the
RDBMSes are optimised for.  There is relatively little evidence that
game assets/data for a MUD either do or can be reasonably made to
fit those optimised-for access patterns, and in particular, what
evidence there is, is inextricably and incestuously tied to the
exact design and implementation of that game's internal structures.

There's a lot of variation in basic data structure and model across
game servers.

This is not to say that an RDBMS is not suitable for some games, or
in fact for some game data for most games (eg auth data is an
obvious candidate which fits the standard models and patterns well),
just that a blanket assumption of, "of course an RDBMS is
appropriate/wonderful/beneficial for (all) game data," is short
sighted and frequently enough wrong.

>   1: Database servers are designed to handle loads like
>   this.. Thousands of connections and queries a second.

>   2: Scalability, Reliability, and Failover. Most big named SQL
>   Servers like Oracle are very scaleable, to multiprocessors or
>   clusters > of database servers.

>   3: 24/7 Operation

>   4: Tried and Tested

>   5: Multi-Platform.  Most big database servers like Oracle are
>   multi-platform, So today you can start off with an PC x86
>   version and tomorrow, switch over to a Solaris. All without
>   rewriting any code...

Which while all nice points, say nothing about the >technical<
suitability of an RDBMS and its implied data models and access
patterns to game data.

> Using a flat file you are having to rebuild, a database server
> from the ground up providing all of the things that a database
> server already does for you.

There are many fundamentally different types of databases out there.
RDBMSes are but one.  Each has its own requirements of the data
model and access patterns, and thus suitability for different
problem spaces.  As always, you get to pick.

Pick well.  Educate yourself first.

J C Lawrence                
---------(*)                Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas. 
claw at kanga.nu               He lived as a devil, eh?		  
http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/  Evil is a name of a foeman, as I live.

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