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View Full Version : Pre-Sale Questions - Thank you in advance.


08-11-2006, 11:50 AM
I have been asked to look at extending the services of the company i work for in london, we currently deal with blackberry, dedicated / colocated servers, adsl, SMB, webhosting etc etc, the list goes on.



I have to admit, i'm very green to gaming, i have researched heavily on this over the last few days (I found your product and several others via google / wht etc etc) and it does seem to be a viable service to offer our existing and future clients, so i would be grateful if someone from TCAdmin could spare a few moments to answer the following questions.



Todate, everything seems to point as your product being the best available on the gaming panel market, but it appears that many other companies come and go, so first question is, is TCAdmin in for the long haul, i.e. not disappear 6 months down the line, are you able to provide a SLA against your product for a period of time, say 1 year for updates and support issues ?



my second question has been generated by comparing your product against the beta provided by cPanel LLC, they offer a nice system (i.e. game files and associated updates can be downloaded from one of the cPGS mirrors) but as it's still pretty beta, we cou ldnt run this on live production servers, but does your software offer this, or do we need to installed a cd/dvd into the drive for your software to make an image of, or does this product require a cd to be available at all times ?



my third question would be do you truly offer 24/7 support and should there be any reason to, do you offer hands on support (24/7) as well in the unlikely event that a problem occurs ? if so, what charges would be applicable and is it per ticket or per hour ?



my fourth question, which hopefully your be able to help me, what time of loads does this software use and is there a minimum / expected hardware required, as for an example, for 10 x 32 slot cs servers to be run on.



Thank you for your patience reading this pre-sales question, and I look forward to your replies.



Kind regards



Simon

Hogie
08-11-2006, 12:10 PM
Todate, everything seems to point as your product being the best available on the gaming panel market, but it appears that many other companies come and go, so first question is, is TCAdmin in for the long haul, i.e. not disappear 6 months down the line, are you able to provide a SLA against your product for a period of time, say 1 year for updates and support issues ?




So far, they have been around about 18 months actually selling their software. Probably another year before that in Beta where they weren't making money. I asked the same question when I started, and they are in for the long haul.



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my second question has been generated by comparing your product against the beta provided by cPanel LLC, they offer a nice system (i.e. game files and associated updates can be downloaded from one of the cPGS mirrors) but as it's still pretty beta, we cou ldnt run this on live production servers, but does your software offer this, or do we need to installed a cd/dvd into the drive for your software to make an image of, or does this product require a cd to be available at all times ?


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Images of the game cds are not needed, just the files are. Basically, if the game did not have a stand alone server (Like the quake engine games), you would install the game once, then zip up the directory. There is a document about it at: http://esupport.tcadmin.com



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my third question would be do you truly offer 24/7 support and should there be any reason to, do you offer hands on support (24/7) as well in the unlikely event that a problem occurs ? if so, what charges would be applicable and is it per ticket or per hour ?


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LFA has been helpful to me at all times of night. Just make sure you mark the ticket as the right priority. As for the hands on, I am not sure if there is a cost involved.



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my fourth question, which hopefully your be able to help me, what time of loads does this software use and is there a minimum / expected hardware required, as for an example, for 10 x 32 slot cs servers to be run on.


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Each game is different. With each game comes different mods and different configs. There is no way to tell what you need without experience. Also, some cores of cpus are faster than others. Sure, you might say Dual Xeon 3.0, but we might have a different core than you do, which is faster, and actually helps us host more while you can't. Memory speed/quality would be the same type of thing.



Over at The Planet Forums, there is a nice topic about cpu usage on different games that has been created by many different people running games with different configs and on different hardware. It is in the Gaming Section.

ECF
08-11-2006, 12:17 PM
Hi Simon,



Here are the answers to your questions.



1. As far as the stability of our company, which is actually Balance Servers, Inc. We have been in the business since 2004 as DBA Balance Servers, a registered company in the state of Maine (USA). We recently incorporated under Balance Servers, Inc. in the state of Massachusettes (USA). Our company we be in the business as long as there is a need for our product. We have no intentions of going anywhere.



2. For game files you will be required to provide them. Currently I think Cpanel only offers freely availible server downloads from their system. Many games other than Half Life based game require that you purchase the game CD and upload the files to your server(s). I would like to clarify one thing before we even get started, adn that would be TCAdmin is for windows servers only. We do not currently have a public version for linux. As you may read in our forums, we have a linux version, but it has not ready for public release.



3.We do not advertise nor offer 24/7 support. Our aim is to keep our product pricing as low as possible. One way we achieve this is by not carrying overhead such as 24/7 support staff. However I feel this will soon change due to the release of our new datacenter product. Normal response times are usually very short. Within a few hours, sometimes minutes.



As far as hands on support, we can help you with the software, but we cannot teach you how to host games. Anyone looking to enter this business needs to know what they are doing when it comes to hosting games. While our system automates many facets of this, it will still require that you have a knowlege of all games that you will be hosting, and be able to provide support to users for issues that arise. If you are completely new and are working towards a business plan, then we have some options as far as consulting and planning services. To enter this sector of the market unprepared will simply end in certain failure.



4. For system specs it can vary widely. However a common system configuration for a game hoster would be the followingL



Dual Xeon or Opteron CPUs

2 GB RAM

SATA or SCSI Harddrives

Windows 2003 Server OS

100 Base T Network Card



Bandwidth will also be an issue. You will need quality bandwidth, (no Congent or lower end transit carriers.) And you will a decent amount depending on what games you run.



If you do not have a good supply of financial and support resources, I would honesty advise against entering this market.



Please let me know if you have any other questions.

08-11-2006, 12:50 PM
Thank you for your prompt reply ECF, it is appreciated.



If i may, I would like to delve a little further in this thread.



On answer 2, I understand that your software is windows based, and from what i have gathered, updates are readily available quicker for the games in question on windows than linux, linux was just 1 option we were looking at.



On answer 3, no business would enter a new sector unprepared, and as a responsible UK Ltd company, the company I work for would never jump into any new market without assesing the advantages / disadvantages and more importantly the sustainability of providing a service, i expect i'll be made to research this for a few more months yet and run several test servers, but I will need to do some end user investigation, would you be able to provide a list of your clients that offer 'Reseller' (virtual white label services) should it exist.



On answer 4, I have already done some research on the bandwidth issues, but our BGP / IP Transit is more then capable of handling the traffic that would be generated, with footprints in London and Amsterdam, we are hoping that if the service was to go ahead, it would be tempting for clients in the EU as latency is extremly good, but the hardware concept (everybody has different ideas from the numerous forums I have trawled) still seems debatable, so server tests will need to be carried out, if you could push me in the right direction where i could approach klans that would be willing to test out our setup's for free, it would be appreciated (however this is not an immediate requirement, due to obvious reasons)



As with everything, answers always generate more questions, but i find it's easier to ask and learn rather than represent half facts, so I would like to thank you for your patience so far.

ECF
08-11-2006, 01:43 PM
It seems more and more lately that linux is becoming a second though to many game makers. The fact is games are designed and built on the windwos operating system, so you are assured that server files for windows will be availible for them.



A couple recent examples of this would be Battelfield 2. On release the linux files simply did not work. it took EA and DICE extra time to go back and fix them.



Another example would be Call of Duty 2 which was released with windows server files only. To this day I have yet to see a stable linux build for it. They still classify the linux version as beta.



Then you run into the games that simply cannot be hosted on the linux OS, such as Halo, the rainbow six series etc, sim racers such as Nascar etc..



However, I cannot argue that most distros of linux will cost you $0, whereas windows licensing you will need to pay for. So it would be a good idea to create a list of games that you feel would fit your business. Take that list and invetigate whether or not the server files are availible for the OS you intend to run, and make an educated decision based on what you find.



We work closely with a company here in the US which can provide consulting and setup services to you. If you would like the name of the contact, feel free to send me an email directly to kevin at tcadmin.com.



Keep in mind that latency and QOS (Quality of Service) is paramount to gamers. Lag spikes, poor routing and packet loss will cause you to lose clients very quickly.



For hardware, I simply posted what the normal game service provider uses. There can be many different variations depending on the games you host etc... Also the AMD vs. intel debate is much like the Windows vs. Linux debate. People have their own opinions, and use what they like. However, I will tell you that you should be looking at Dual CPU systems at least for hosting games.



i am happy to see you are actually doing your homework on the subject instead of just jumping in like most people do :smile:

08-11-2006, 02:01 PM
Thank you, have emailed you.



Kind regards



Simon