Hey everybody, I've been reading this forum for a while now. I'm quite interested in getting everybody's opinion about my idea.
Recently, when I left my old job. My boss decided to gift me with a going away present, namely a Acserva ARSX-2T5510 1U Rack mount Server. Equipped with dual Intel Xeon E5520 2.26GHz quad core processors, 12GB of ECC Registered DDR3 memory, and four 500GB SATA-II Western Digital hard drives in a RAID 5 array.
I believe this server should quite healthily host a good about of hlds games, I'm not exactly sure on which number would push me up to around 75 pct of cpu capacity.
I have done quite a bit of research including market strategy, financials, and etc on starting a simple GSP. I would mostly concentrate on local college students, as online gaming is a very popular thing with the locals. According to my research, I'd be able to sell out the space on the machine rather quickly. After a few months of this, I'd be making a few bucks past my expenses.
Running Linux Redhat Enterprise.
I already have 2 small servers that I have set up to serve web pages and mysql databases. So I know a bit about c-panel, etc.
I see 3 choices for my game panel.
1. TCadmin (i'll be running linux, I don't think it'll work)
2. Swift panel (Doesn't integrate with whmcs?)
3. GameCP (havn't heard anyone claim to use it, but it seems
to have billing integration)
What would be the best panel to look into?
Also, what particulars should I bring up with my ISP?
I don't really have all that much experience personally dealing with ISP's and setting up high bandwidth internet connections. Does anyone have any good resources that I could look up involving this issue.
I have a budget of a few thousand dollars for software, and ISP setup costs. Do any of you who have already progressed down this road have any advise, preferably any step by step advice that does not include the words co-location? (which is budgeted for the 18th month of operations.)
Absolutely any advise I could be given that would compliment my goals and current research is completely welcome.
The machine specs are healthy for game serving so that wouldn't be a problem but your main concern would be the connection. Your most cost effective option would be colo.. Sorry... Otherwise your looking at bringing in at least a T1 line which would be a few hundred per month last I checked.
TCAdmin is only supported on Windows so that wouldn't be an option. I've heard good thing about swiftpanel but no direct experience. Same for GameCP although haven't heard much good praise there..
Yup, I do not suggest running your GSP out of a home connection as you are bound to fail. Also do not think it will be easy to get clients as trust me it isn't unless you have been around for a good year.
As Rich said TCAdmin doesn't support Linux or BSD but I would look into Swift Panel as I did some testing and it was fairly good.
You can get some great deals on colo-hosting if you look around, check the colo-hosting offer forums. Spend a few extra bucks on quality bandwidth. Add a 4th hard drive to make a RAID-10 array (or take one out for RAID-1). RAID-5 is horrible if you have to rebuild the array.
I would suggest trying the GameCP trial for 30 days, it works on linux and windows and is more advance then Swift or TCAdmin. It is also a bit harder to setup then the other two panels. The customization of it is pretty endless. As far as a billing system, GameCP does have an integrated one but I highly suggest using WHMCS with it.
The server has great game hosting specs. regarding your load its all about fps. With a stable OS (win or linux) the processor is usually not your concern. The fps will become less stable before the cpu overloads. Not to push you away from linux do note that hlds are windows coded servers. In the past there were instances where the updates came out for win but linux was delayed for a few hours/days. Probably better nowadays but fyi.
Win2003 was horrible for hosting hlds servers. the clockrate was locked low and had to be artificially boosted. win2008 is comparable to linux...but still not equal. You get great performance and for a windows guy like myself the ability to manage the server myself and easily. Have had nothing but compliments on win2008 performance.
Oh, and the bandwidth is MOST critical. have a great system like yours and then get a subpar line is horrible. i have 1 counter-strike source server that runs 40 people and it peaks around 5-6mbps when full. (a T1 referenced is 1.5mbps).
Its a frustrating but invigorating experience hosting servers. good luck!
Alright, So I went with GameCP, and was very happy with it. It took me a few months to learn it completely, learn how to integrate the servers with it, and learn how to skin it correctly to integrate it with my site.
It works very well, paypal integration is awesome etc.
As of now, I am hosting my website on the same server as the game servers, using ISPCONFIG 2. When I get a web server, I'll install ISPCONFIG 2, and transfer all the dns info, databases, etc to it.
Now I'm looking for co-location, I've contacted a few co-location providers in Cali. to ask them about sending eq to them, and getting it set up remotely. Once The server is set up on in a good datacenter, all I'll have to do is connect remotely via SSH, and change a few config files.
I had a weird problems with Cent OS 5.3
I had it installed with my RAID-5 array, something went wrong with the GRUB bootloader. I tried to reinstall the operating system, but the raid array was apparently not letting me re-write the broken GRUB bootloader. (that was a 3 week headache to figure out.)