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I would really like people to treat this as an experiment in distributed systems design rather than a product for games, but because our main product is intended to be used by MMOs (as well as other industries), let me address your scenario.

> how does the client know which server to connect to?

Galaxy doesn't handle any client connections, only connections between cluster nodes, but if you were to build something on top of that connects to clients, then, yeah, starting with a guess and redirecting is ok. An initial node that simply directs connections might work, too. And if players move from one place to another, having your communication layer telling them to connect to a different node is pretty much what we had in mind.

> when would you ever need your "cache lines" moved from node to node?

Yes, player data, NPC data, vehicle data - anything that moves. BUT, another big reason for data migration is load-balancing. Continuing with your game example, if a lot of players congregate in one area, handled by one machine, you may decide to split it to two machines, and migrate half of the information there.

If you were to use Galaxy for a graph database (forgetting the MMO use-case for now), then while the graph vertices don't "move", changes in the edges might make you decide on a better distribution of the vertices over the cluster.




This response fills me with unease. You present MMOs as a core use-case, and then equivocate your support for MMOs, preferring to hand-wave about failover and graph databases.

The best way to experiment with distributed systems design is to build a real distributed system - or at least be able to sketch one out.

Frankly, this seemed like a solution looking for a problem, and your vague responses are supporting this. The interesting dynamic, of being able to move data between nodes as a side-effect of access patterns is interesting, but it's not clear how an MMO could really use this dynamic to good effect. Indeed, even the fault tolerant case, it's not clear how this dynamic would help failover - I mean, would you need to duplicate access patterns prior to node failure to ensure dual-local data?

Frankly, I think you should focus on one use-case (MMO, graph database, something) and hand-wave a complete solution that really leverages the novelty of your approach. Get specific and talk about what actually happens when "things move".


Alright, sorry for the confusion. Our commercial offering (SpaceBase) is very much targeted at MMOs and real-time LBSs. However, like many start-ups we really do like building cool stuff. And while it indeed the case that Galaxy will soon be a offered as a component of SpaceBase, it is has a very different design from other memory-grid projects/products, so we decided to open-source it to the community and let it explore other possible uses.

My post was meant to be an introduction to a series of very technical blog posts discussing theoretical and practical aspects of distributed systems. The post was not meant to serve a clear commercial purpose, so I was trying to steer the discussion away from commercial uses and more to its CS aspects. You know, we really find this stuff interesting. Some of my future posts will discuss the more theoretical sides of Galaxy and will drill very deeply into its design and algorithms, while others will discuss how SpaceBase will make use of Galaxy to help MMOs build huge, rich worlds, and LBSs track lots of moving objects in real-time. To be more concrete and give just a taste, I'll say this: when SpaceBase runs on top of Galaxy, objects are transferred from one node to another to create a dynamic area-of-responsibility for each node. This means that each node will be responsible for processing all objects in some region of the game world (or real world for LBSs). But the regions are dynamic - namely, they shrink and grow to accommodate non-uniform load, so that small busy areas will be split over several nodes, while large, relatively vacant ones will be handled by just one.




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