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Renting a server by the hour
1
#1
11 Frags +

I know a lot of teams rent servers by the month. This always seemed kind of wasteful to me, since they only get used for a few hours a week. So I investigated hosting servers on cloud providers that rent by the hour, which can be a lot cheaper if you don't need a server running 24/7.

This guide is the result.

(Yes, I already know about serveme, and I mention it in the guide. It's a great service for most needs, but they have limited capacity and you can't fully customize the server)

I know a lot of teams rent servers by the month. This always seemed kind of wasteful to me, since they only get used for a few hours a week. So I investigated hosting servers on cloud providers that rent by the hour, which can be a lot cheaper if you don't need a server running 24/7.

[url=http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=239889571]This guide is the result[/url].

(Yes, I already know about serveme, and I mention it in the guide. It's a great service for most needs, but they have limited capacity and you can't fully customize the server)
2
#2
12 Frags +

I appreciate the work you put into this, but there are very good reasons nobody uses cloud services (especially EC2) for hosting game servers. When you purchase time on AWS, you're sharing resources and bandwidth with x other VMs on the same box. These services are intended for web servers, and they simply cannot provide the low-latency, high-reliability, on-demand performance demanded by a game server.

I appreciate the work you put into this, but there are very good reasons nobody uses cloud services (especially EC2) for hosting game servers. When you purchase time on AWS, you're sharing resources and bandwidth with x other VMs on the same box. These services are intended for web servers, and they simply cannot provide the low-latency, high-reliability, on-demand performance demanded by a game server.
3
#3
1 Frags +

Great write up; do you have any benchmark results from this? I've been wanting to try this out for a year or so, but never had the patience.

Great write up; do you have any benchmark results from this? I've been wanting to try this out for a year or so, but never had the patience.
4
#4
-2 Frags +

The reason you can't rent game servers by the hour is that it would cost like 1 cent and there's literally zero profit for the providers, no motivation at all for them to do it.

I mean, it's not like 15$ a month is exactly cripplingly expensive in the first place.

Yes I did read the OP, a game server is not the same thing you are talking about. I'd be shocked if you get reasonable performance out of what you are doing.

The reason you can't rent game servers by the hour is that it would cost like 1 cent and there's literally zero profit for the providers, no motivation at all for them to do it.

I mean, it's not like 15$ a month is exactly cripplingly expensive in the first place.

Yes I did read the OP, a game server is not the same thing you are talking about. I'd be shocked if you get reasonable performance out of what you are doing.
5
#5
4 Frags +
synchroGreat write up; do you have any benchmark results from this? I've been wanting to try this out for a year or so, but never had the patience.

I have tested servers in 6's and Highlander (on TF2Center), and they seemed pretty rock solid. No one had any complaints after the match either when I asked. I took some screenshots of the netgraph basically at random, you can see them on my Steam screenshots. I don't really know how to read netgraph, but I compared them to some pub servers and TF2Center servers and they looked about the same.

If there is some other kind of benchmark to perform, I can give it a go.

tranchemusicThe reason you can't rent game servers by the hour is that it would cost like 1 cent and there's literally zero profit for the providers, no motivation at all for them to do it.

I mean, it's not like 15$ a month is exactly cripplingly expensive in the first place.

Umm, did you read the OP? I've been renting servers by the hour for the past week. Cloud hosting by the hour is pretty big business these days, actually.

The servers cost about $0.10 an hour, so if you're using the server less than 150 hour per month, it's much cheaper than a normal server.

[quote=synchro]Great write up; do you have any benchmark results from this? I've been wanting to try this out for a year or so, but never had the patience.[/quote]
I have tested servers in 6's and Highlander (on TF2Center), and they seemed pretty rock solid. No one had any complaints after the match either when I asked. I took some screenshots of the netgraph basically at random, you can see them on [url=http://steamcommunity.com/id/Kered13/screenshots/]my Steam screenshots[/url]. I don't really know how to read netgraph, but I compared them to some pub servers and TF2Center servers and they looked about the same.

If there is some other kind of benchmark to perform, I can give it a go.

[quote=tranchemusic]The reason you can't rent game servers by the hour is that it would cost like 1 cent and there's literally zero profit for the providers, no motivation at all for them to do it.

I mean, it's not like 15$ a month is exactly cripplingly expensive in the first place.[/quote]
Umm, did you read the OP? I've been renting servers by the hour for the past week. Cloud hosting by the hour is pretty big business these days, actually.

The servers cost about $0.10 an hour, so if you're using the server less than 150 hour per month, it's much cheaper than a normal server.
6
#6
0 Frags +

Well, to those who have jobs, $15 a month isn't really too much, as snobbish as it sounds. 1 or 2 hours can pay off your entire month, and you won't have to worry about the hassle about signing up for and configuring a sever each time you need it.

Even then, if you're living off your parents or someone else (like I did until I got a proper job), making sure they know is probably a good idea so they can judge the expenditure.

Well, to those who have jobs, $15 a month isn't really too much, as snobbish as it sounds. 1 or 2 hours can pay off your entire month, and you won't have to worry about the hassle about signing up for and configuring a sever each time you need it.

Even then, if you're living off your parents or someone else (like I did until I got a proper job), making sure they know is probably a good idea so they can judge the expenditure.
7
#7
0 Frags +

I don't think he's trying to get everyone to switch away from their current hosting, and yeah, most people can pay for it just fine. But knowing this is a possibility can only help.

Plus the option to spin up a premade server (the shortcut he mentioned in the guide) is a great backup plan in case your server ever has issues and you can't find another to use (match nights/whatever).

I don't think he's trying to get everyone to switch away from their current hosting, and yeah, most people can pay for it just fine. But knowing this is a possibility can only help.

Plus the option to spin up a premade server (the shortcut he mentioned in the guide) is a great backup plan in case your server ever has issues and you can't find another to use (match nights/whatever).
8
#8
2 Frags +

For the average player who doesn't have much time or is lazy, http://na.serveme.tf is a better and faster solution. Plus, it's free!

NA Serveme will also be getting more Chicago servers, hopefully this weekend :)

For the average player who doesn't have much time or is lazy, http://na.serveme.tf is a better and faster solution. Plus, it's free!


NA Serveme will also be getting more Chicago servers, hopefully this weekend :)
9
#9
0 Frags +
MasterKuniWhen you purchase time on AWS, you're sharing resources and bandwidth with x other VMs on the same box. These services are intended for web servers, and they simply cannot provide the low-latency, high-reliability, on-demand performance demanded by a game server.

Only the micro instances share hardware, and they're not powerful enough to run TF2 anyway since you don't even have enough RAM. Other instances aren't effected by what any other customers might be doing, the performance you're paying for whatever instance you have is guaranteed.

I had an ec2 instance boot up for 4hrs at scrim time during the week for a month while our normal provider (ozfortress has ~20 servers any1 can book for free for scrims/pugs) was having issues. It cost me ~$10 for the month. I had multiple people asking what host I was using as it was the best ping/smoothest server they'd used. I know of at least 3 other teams who started doing the same thing until our usual host fixed up its issues. FYI I was using a c1.medium instance and it was overpowered for a TF2 server but gives great, smooth performance. Obviously this hosting won't be the best for everyone, depending on where you are compared to the host, your ISP etc. is going to get you better latency to different hosts, but they're certainly good enough for hosting any kind of gaming server.

While the performance is great, renting an already running TF2 server is far easier. I think in certain scenario's this kind of technology is really useful. For example, maybe running a short 1 day competition where you need multiple servers but only for a few hours. Or ESEA finals when everyone tries to join STV and it fills up. Booting up a bunch of ec2 instances and running some 250 slot STV's on really great performing hardware for only a couple of hours would cost next to nothing.

[quote=MasterKuni]When you purchase time on AWS, you're sharing resources and bandwidth with x other VMs on the same box. These services are intended for web servers, and they simply cannot provide the low-latency, high-reliability, on-demand performance demanded by a game server.[/quote]

Only the micro instances share hardware, and they're not powerful enough to run TF2 anyway since you don't even have enough RAM. Other instances aren't effected by what any other customers might be doing, the performance you're paying for whatever instance you have is guaranteed.

I had an ec2 instance boot up for 4hrs at scrim time during the week for a month while our normal provider (ozfortress has ~20 servers any1 can book for free for scrims/pugs) was having issues. It cost me ~$10 for the month. I had multiple people asking what host I was using as it was the best ping/smoothest server they'd used. I know of at least 3 other teams who started doing the same thing until our usual host fixed up its issues. FYI I was using a c1.medium instance and it was overpowered for a TF2 server but gives great, smooth performance. Obviously this hosting won't be the best for everyone, depending on where you are compared to the host, your ISP etc. is going to get you better latency to different hosts, but they're certainly good enough for hosting any kind of gaming server.

While the performance is great, renting an already running TF2 server is far easier. I think in certain scenario's this kind of technology is really useful. For example, maybe running a short 1 day competition where you need multiple servers but only for a few hours. Or ESEA finals when everyone tries to join STV and it fills up. Booting up a bunch of ec2 instances and running some 250 slot STV's on really great performing hardware for only a couple of hours would cost next to nothing.
10
#10
1 Frags +

The cost of having an unused server is basically nothing, so yeah it works great as a fallback server. Likewise spinning up a bunch of identical instances is easy if you need a lot of servers for a short time.

PishkOnly the micro instances share hardware, and they're not powerful enough to run TF2 anyway since you don't even have enough RAM. Other instances aren't effected by what any other customers might be doing, the performance you're paying for whatever instance you have is guaranteed.

Actually I've been able to run servers on the micro instances. I don't use them for matches or anything because I'm sure they're underpowered, but for configuring and testing the server it works well and costs nothing. I also MGE'd on it, so it seems to be fine with 2 people on the server.

The cost of having an unused server is basically nothing, so yeah it works great as a fallback server. Likewise spinning up a bunch of identical instances is easy if you need a lot of servers for a short time.

[quote=Pishk]Only the micro instances share hardware, and they're not powerful enough to run TF2 anyway since you don't even have enough RAM. Other instances aren't effected by what any other customers might be doing, the performance you're paying for whatever instance you have is guaranteed.[/quote]
Actually I've been able to run servers on the micro instances. I don't use them for matches or anything because I'm sure they're underpowered, but for configuring and testing the server it works well and costs nothing. I also MGE'd on it, so it seems to be fine with 2 people on the server.
11
#11
serveme.tf
1 Frags +

Hey, I run serveme.tf/na.serveme.tf, thanks for the shoutout in the guide. Starting to doubt if I should have AWS servers as backup for when all serveme servers are full now :)

Hey, I run [url=http://serveme.tf]serveme.tf[/url]/[url=http://na.serveme.tf]na.serveme.tf[/url], thanks for the shoutout in the guide. Starting to doubt if I should have AWS servers as backup for when all serveme servers are full now :)
12
#12
0 Frags +
tranchemusicThe reason you can't rent game servers by the hour is that it would cost like 1 cent and there's literally zero profit for the providers, no motivation at all for them to do it.

I mean, it's not like 15$ a month is exactly cripplingly expensive in the first place.

Yes I did read the OP, a game server is not the same thing you are talking about. I'd be shocked if you get reasonable performance out of what you are doing.

IF the reason was that they would make little profit (implying they can provide servers for the hour) people would rent them every scrim or match so they wouldn't make 0 profit they would make the same profit with more resource management.

[quote=tranchemusic]The reason you can't rent game servers by the hour is that it would cost like 1 cent and there's literally zero profit for the providers, no motivation at all for them to do it.

I mean, it's not like 15$ a month is exactly cripplingly expensive in the first place.

Yes I did read the OP, a game server is not the same thing you are talking about. I'd be shocked if you get reasonable performance out of what you are doing.[/quote]

IF the reason was that they would make little profit (implying they can provide servers for the hour) people would rent them every scrim or match so they wouldn't make 0 profit they would make the same profit with more resource management.
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