Skip to main content

IBM and Butterfly to Run PlayStation-R-2 Games on Global Grid

Butterfly Grid Will Support Massive Numbers of Video Gamers Online

SAN JOSE, Calif. - 27 Feb 2003: IBM and Grid pioneer Butterfly.net announced today that Butterfly has signed a PlayStation®2 Tools and Middleware agreement with Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. to provide technology and networking services for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system.

As part of the agreement, IBM and Butterfly activated a first-of-its-kind computing grid that allows online game developers to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of PlayStation®2 by more efficiently provisioning resources to meet the demands of console gamers.

The Butterfly Grid for PlayStation®2 online gaming will be unveiled next week at the annual Game Developer's Conference in San Jose. The developer's Grid for building and testing online games is hosted by IBM.

PlayStation®2 game developers can ensure that their games are always available online, and operating at peak performance, by engineering their games directly on a live computing grid. Registered developers will receive a software development kit with sample games, client libraries, server software, documentation and technical support. Developers can access the Grid by registering at www.butterfly.net.

"We've enjoyed very rapid progress and outstanding performance while developing and testing VibeForce on the Butterfly Grid," said Curt Benefield, Chief Executive Officer of Sherman3D, a video game developer with offices in Malaysia and the United States. "The Grid has allowed us to build the bulk of our game logic, our motion models and our artificial intelligence systems with familiar tools and standard interfaces. Our engineers can get close to the metal on the client, the servers and over the network to bring the action-backed, richly-rewarding console experience online."

The Butterfly Grid takes advantage of the Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA), an important new standard for high-performance, ultra-reliable computing. OGSA supports several of the most critical functions of successful online games: availability, security and performance. The Grid's OGSA-compliant software monitors the processing load on Linux®-based IBM BladeCenters populated with 14 Blades, each with two Intel Xeon® processors. When the Grid determines there are too many players connected to any particular server, the Grid automatically reconfigures underutilized Blades to support the most popular game-play and seamlessly transfers players to these Blades.

"We are delighted to partner with IBM to meet the requirements of PlayStation®2 developers for a highly responsive, Grid computing network that is optimized for online gaming," said David Levine, CEO of Butterfly.net. "PlayStation®2, with its powerful graphics engine, surround sound and broadband capabilities, is the perfect vehicle for gamers to participate in new, fully experiential forms of entertainment online."

"The Butterfly Grid is the most innovative online video gaming platform ever, incorporating open infrastructure technologies from IBM to mirror the transparent, yet highly responsive ecosystem of the Internet," said Scott Penberthy, vice president of Business Development, IBM Global Services. "Playstation®2 game developers and service providers can utilize the Butterfly Grid to access computing resources on demand, reduce costs and better deploy their entertainment properties online."

The Butterfly Grid for PlayStation®2 Online Gaming
The Butterfly Grid is a new network gaming environment for Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s PlayStation (R)2 that enables online video game providers to reliably deliver state-of-the-art games to millions of concurrent users. Traditionally, online video games have segmented players onto separate servers, limiting the number that could interact and creating reliability and support obstacles. In the first generation of online games, when one server is down, overloaded, or patches are being installed, game-play comes to a halt. With Butterfly's breakthrough grid technology, the server interaction is completely transparent and seamless to the user - delivering a resilient gaming infrastructure where servers can be added, or replaced, without interrupting game-play.

Hosted by IBM and powered by IBM Dual Xeon Blade Servers running Linux®, the Butterfly Grid is an example of an Enterprise Optimization Grid, one of the five Grid focus areas recently announced by IBM. IBM's WebSphere and DB2 software, along with Butterfly.net's game servers, gateways, networking software and artificial intelligence systems provide an integrated platform for online game development, deployment and ongoing operations. The Butterfly Grid's OGSA-compliant, XML-based Game Configuration Specification allows service providers to extend the Butterfly Grid out to the edge of the network, enabling dedicated gaming services and networks, voice communications and single sign-on across multiple titles for potentially lucrative new subscription revenue streams. The grid design is ultra-resilient, offering the potential to support over one million simultaneous players from each facility in a 24/7 environment with automatic fail over capability.

Computing Grids
An emerging model of computing, Grids are built with clusters of servers joined together over the Internet, using protocols provided by the Globus open source community and other open technologies, including Linux® and Python. Like the World Wide Web enables people to share content over standard, open protocols, Grid protocols emerging from the Globus open source community are enabling organizations to create virtual organizations sharing applications, data and computing power over the Internet to collaborate, tackle large problems and lower the cost of computing.

Butterfly.net is working with the Global Grid Forum to ensure that any video game developed according to publicly available specifications and Internet open standards can draw resources-on-demand from the Butterfly Grid. The Globus Toolkit, available by download from www.globus.org, provides authorization and accounting functions, allocates hardware resources, configures game-specific logic and monitors performance on the Butterfly Grid.

IBM is the world's leading supplier of Grid systems and services and is working with the Globus open source community and others to extend Grid computing into commercial environments. IBM Global Services offers the complete range of IT skills needed to build, run and maintain Computing Grids.

Contact(s) information

Jim Larkin
IBM Media Relations
(914) 766-4266
Larkinj@us.ibm.com

Related XML feeds
Topics XML feeds
Business partners
Business partner information including strategic alliances
Services and solutions