Games developer upgrades to 10 gig switching

Storage is the new bottleneck

Australian video game developer, Krome Studios, has completely re-engineered its network as part of an upgrade to 10 Gigabit switching.

The company's IT manager, Jason Muir, said the aim of the upgrade was to increase throughput over the backbone as games development is extremely taxing on bandwidth.

"Plus we have a lot of high-powered machines in a small space sharing large amounts of data," he added.

Krome has two adjacent offices in Brisbane and further sites in Melbourne and Adelaide, employing 300 staff in total.

After the initial research and planning, Muir approached reseller Computer Alliance to supply the equipment.

"We wanted to improve throughput speed for the entire business," Muir said.

"To stack the old switches we were having to sacrifice two ports on the front, and suffer the hit to our throughput.

"The new 10 Gig switches have dedicated stacking modules which plug into the back of the switch so we are not sacrificing ports when stacking and we get vastly improved throughput with 10 Gig."

The last step of the rollout was connecting the two Brisbane sites.

To link the Brisbane buildings, Krome dug up the road and laid down a dark fibre link, running the 10 Gigabit backbone across it.

All up, Krome installed five 10 Gigabit Managed Switches from Netgear as the main backbone switches and linked these to ten Gigabit Managed Switches, distributed across the four sites.

"Before we called in the diggers, we trialled a wireless solution to connect the two Brisbane offices," Muir said.

"Using multiple access points tied together with a bridge, we found they were unable to get enough bandwidth support between the two sites to meet our requirements.

"This solution was abandoned in favour of the dark fibre link."

Muir admits it was a big financial commitment for Krome, but essential to support the expansion of the business.

"We invested between $65,000 and $70,000 on switches and even though we have always been a Netgear house, we found Netgear offered the best price for what we were after anyway," he added.

Netgear techie Thomas Leggett said during the rollout there was one speedbump, that is a non-responsive switch.

"Our tech support team quickly arranged a replacement unit to be shipped to Krome and the upgrade proceeded," Leggett said.

"Individual components in a piece of hardware are usually quite expensive and if the product is under warranty, its easier and of course cheaper to replace the entire unit.

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