Butterfly.net and IBM announced the deployment of a network grid specifically designed for use by massively multiplayer online games. Called the Butterfly Grid, the grid consists of Linux-based IBM eServer xSeries systems hosted by IBM, running on internal fiber-optic networks. The grid was developed as part of The Globus Project
, an set of open-source research projects for developing large-scale computational grids.
Butterfly says the grid is designed to overcome one of today's common limitations in today's online games: segmentation of the game universe into shards. The company says the Butterfly Grid can support millions of simultaneous players in the same game, distributing the processing across a network of server farms.
The network uses a packet-transport protocol that can span platforms, so that PC users can play against people using PocketPCs, Palm handhelds, and consoles. Butterfly's licensing program also lets developers prototype and test games on the server grid with full bandwidth and simulation/load testing.
Developers can access the Butterfly Grid by including the Butterfly Grid client software libraries in games, which can be downloaded from the Butterfly.net web site.
Butterfly.net will demonstrate the Butterfly Grid at E3 later this month in Los Angeles.