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CFstorm

Gaming Server Concept

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I am currently running low on diskspace on my gaming 

PC. Currently I have 2 OCZ 120GB SSD's. I am wondering, what if I built a home server and put all my steam files on it? Could I just have that be a file server, and still run the games on my Computer?

 

I would plan to eliminate latency by adding 10GB nics and routing them directly together.

 

Thanks in advance,

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why not just upgrade your hard drives?


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Well it'd be a really cool idea, but it doesn't really work like that from what I understand about the way video games work. A game is going to need to pull memory and data from your physical hard drive to run properly. Now I'm not entirely sure if this will work over a network- a game just might not understand how to run properly over the network and I know there are plenty of operating systems out there that won't let you run applications at all over network shared stuff. 

 

The cost and time it takes to implement 10gb networking just to put your games on a different computer feels like a complete waste. For the money you're going to spend on decent NICs you could just buy another hard drive.


I work as a contractor for everything from photo/video to broadcast and networking. 

I use an old HP Laptop forked up on top of a photography textbook. 

Right now this is what I use: Fuji X100T, Fuji X100, Fuji X-E1, XF 18 f2, XF 35 1.4, Nikon d7000, Nikkor 180 2,8 AFIS, Nikkor 60 1.8.

I've got more crap laying around for other jobs and hobbies, though a lot of that isn't applicable to the interests of this forum, so I'll keep myself back from adding it all to the list. 

 

 

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You may run into a few issues. Registry entries created when the game is installed, and random access latency and other things that i'm not entirely sure the 10 gigabit connection will handle. Some people have found success with less demanding titles. Dont know of anyone that tried it with anything more recent. The most common complaint though is load time. Seems to have increased quite a lot. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, JohnBRoark said:

Well it'd be a really cool idea, but it doesn't really work like that from what I understand about the way video games work. A game is going to need to pull memory and data from your physical hard drive to run properly. Now I'm not entirely sure if this will work over a network- a game just might not understand how to run properly over the network and I know there are plenty of operating systems out there that won't let you run applications at all over network shared stuff. 

 

The cost and time it takes to implement 10gb networking just to put your games on a different computer feels like a complete waste. For the money you're going to spend on decent NICs you could just buy another hard drive.

Thanks! :D

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, Scruffy90 said:

You may run into a few issues. Registry entries created when the game is installed, and random access latency and other things that i'm not entirely sure the 10 gigabit connection will handle. Some people have found success with less demanding titles. Dont know of anyone that tried it with anything more recent. The most common complaint though is load time. Seems to have increased quite a lot. 

Awesome, thanks

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3 minutes ago, CFstorm said:

Thats not cool:P

It is rather conventional so I see your point in finding something cool to do.


Intel i7 6700k|Asus Maximus VIII Hero|Asus Strix 1080|Gskill DDR4 3200|950 Pro M.2|Corsair RM750|Corsair OBSIDIAN 500D|Corsair K65\G65|SteelSeries Arctis 5|Asus PB277Q|PG279Q

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, Vigilante505 said:

It is rather conventional so I see your point in finding something cool to do.

Yeah

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1 minute ago, CFstorm said:

Awesome, thanks

If you have access to a network drive, or know someone who does. Try a less demanding game on it. That may give you a bit of an idea of what may or may not work. 


Rig 1 - Windows 10 Edu | Asus Sabertooth TUF x99 | i7 6800k @ 4.4ghz | 2 x 16gb G.Skill Ripjaw V 3200mhz | Gigabyte g1 Gaming GTX 980ti 6gb | Samsung Evo 960 500gb + 2 x 2TB Seagate Barracuda | EVGA Supernova 650 G2 | 2 x Dell u2713hm + LG 34uc87c | XPS 15 9560

Rig 2 - Windows 10 Edu | Gigabyte GA-Z77-UD3H | i7 3770k @ 4.7ghz | 4x 8gb Corsair XMS | Samsung 840 Pro 256gb + 2TB Seagate Barracuda | Corsair HX650 | Dell S2415H

 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, Scruffy90 said:

If you have access to a network drive, or know someone who does. Try a less demanding game on it. That may give you a bit of an idea of what may or may not work. 

I will

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@CFstorm

It can be done and it is something I actually do. There are a few problems with using a straight SMB share, not all games can handle it which I found out.

 

There are two ways you can do it:

  1. Use an iSCSI disk from the NAS, little more complex but makes the disk look exactly like any other local connected disk
  2. Use a VHDX file hosted on the SMB share on the NAS and mount that VHDX on the desktop, little easier to do and has all the same up sides to the iSCSI method but also supports SMB3 Multichannel and SMB3 Direct if you buy the correct 10Gb NICs.

I'm using Intel X540-T1 NICs in my server and desktop which doesn't support SMB3 Direct, not that you need it.

 

Edit:

Also note for me my steam library is 1.5TB in size and hosted on all SSD, having it remote using 10Gb doesn't impact performance to a level you can notice. If you used a 10Gb NIC that supported SMB3 Direct (RDMA) then there would be almost no difference between local and remote.

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9 minutes ago, leadeater said:

Also note for me my steam library is 1.5TB in size and hosted on all SSD, having it remote using 10Gb doesn't impact performance to a level you can notice. If you used a 10Gb NIC that supported SMB3 Direct (RDMA) then there would be almost no difference between local and remote.

Thats a whole lot of SSDs dude.


I work as a contractor for everything from photo/video to broadcast and networking. 

I use an old HP Laptop forked up on top of a photography textbook. 

Right now this is what I use: Fuji X100T, Fuji X100, Fuji X-E1, XF 18 f2, XF 35 1.4, Nikon d7000, Nikkor 180 2,8 AFIS, Nikkor 60 1.8.

I've got more crap laying around for other jobs and hobbies, though a lot of that isn't applicable to the interests of this forum, so I'll keep myself back from adding it all to the list. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, JohnBRoark said:

Thats a whole lot of SSDs dude.

Yea 6 Samsung Pros, I use them for caching HDDs as well for the volumes that host iSCSI LUNs that get presented to my esxi hosts. I certainly don't need that many or that much but I wanted to so I did, plus I like having every game installed and all on SSD.

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35 minutes ago, JohnBRoark said:

Well it'd be a really cool idea, but it doesn't really work like that from what I understand about the way video games work. A game is going to need to pull memory and data from your physical hard drive to run properly. Now I'm not entirely sure if this will work over a network- a game just might not understand how to run properly over the network and I know there are plenty of operating systems out there that won't let you run applications at all over network shared stuff. 

 

The cost and time it takes to implement 10gb networking just to put your games on a different computer feels like a complete waste. For the money you're going to spend on decent NICs you could just buy another hard drive.

games and programs don't access the hard drive, the access the file system. Then don't care what the filesystem is amke of. This will work just fine. If it nees a internal drive, just use iscsi.

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2 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

games and programs don't access the hard drive, the access the file system. Then don't care what the filesystem is amke of. This will work just fine. If it nees a internal drive, just use iscsi.

Yea some of the old games I play use shitty disk access APIs that can't handle or don't see network shares, never seen a problem on modern games. Mounted VHDX works the same as iSCSI in regards to making it look like a physical disk.

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1 minute ago, leadeater said:

Yea some of the old games I play use shitty disk access APIs that can't handle or don't see network shares, never seen a problem on modern games.

On windows normally network drives are mounted as a per user basis, so that gets annyoing if you running a program as anouther user.

 

Linux you can normally mount as system wide mount, and i have yet to see a program that wouldn't work on a posix compliant filesystem(ext4, btrfs, zfs, nfs, and many others)

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56 minutes ago, JohnBRoark said:

Well it'd be a really cool idea, but it doesn't really work like that from what I understand about the way video games work. A game is going to need to pull memory and data from your physical hard drive to run properly. Now I'm not entirely sure if this will work over a network- a game just might not understand how to run properly over the network and I know there are plenty of operating systems out there that won't let you run applications at all over network shared stuff. 

 

The cost and time it takes to implement 10gb networking just to put your games on a different computer feels like a complete waste. For the money you're going to spend on decent NICs you could just buy another hard drive.

 

56 minutes ago, Scruffy90 said:

You may run into a few issues. Registry entries created when the game is installed, and random access latency and other things that i'm not entirely sure the 10 gigabit connection will handle. Some people have found success with less demanding titles. Dont know of anyone that tried it with anything more recent. The most common complaint though is load time. Seems to have increased quite a lot. 

 

Most of this is false.

A game doesn't "pull memory" from a hard drive. And issues with registry are unlikely if the setup is done properly.

 

To execute a game, the operating system will load the binary into RAM. In order to do that, the operating system will fetch it using it's own layers of abstraction that allows it to treat network filesystems like local ones, especially solutions like iSCSI. When an iSCSI disk is mounted, to all programs on the computer it appears as any other disk and is able to access it using the same filesystem API as it does for local disks.

 

The game binary is able to read resources from the mounted filesystem as it uses the operating system's filesystem API and it works as normal. Issues with registry should not exist as long as paths remain constant.

 

As @leadeater mentioned, a good 10Gbit NIC is nice to have, I prefer Intel ones such as the X520 DA2. And the nicest protocol for this is iSCSI, as this works more like a true disk rather that a mapped network disk. And you'll likely have faster speeds than a SATA 3 SSD (given you exceed 6Gbit/s).


Comb it with a brick

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38 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

On windows normally network drives are mounted as a per user basis, so that gets annyoing if you running a program as anouther user.

 

Linux you can normally mount as system wide mount, and i have yet to see a program that wouldn't work on a posix compliant filesystem(ext4, btrfs, zfs, nfs, and many others)

Yea I'm talking classic Age of Empires old or Empire Earth, the disk access APIs used in some just simply wont see mounted shared disks. I've even had some games work perfectly fine right up until you go to save then it breaks, Stronghold 2 I think it was from memory. Some games are just epic badly made lol.

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6 hours ago, JohnBRoark said:

Well it'd be a really cool idea, but it doesn't really work like that from what I understand about the way video games work. A game is going to need to pull memory and data from your physical hard drive to run properly. Now I'm not entirely sure if this will work over a network- a game just might not understand how to run properly over the network and I know there are plenty of operating systems out there that won't let you run applications at all over network shared stuff. 

 

The cost and time it takes to implement 10gb networking just to put your games on a different computer feels like a complete waste. For the money you're going to spend on decent NICs you could just buy another hard drive.

(que donald trump "wrong" gif)

 

I see that @leadeater has had problems in the past mapping smb shares and using game libraries. I run this exact config just fine. I am using ubuntu with zfs and samba, network cards are mellanox connectx-2, and the zfs pool has 3x 1TB WD Reds along with 1 240GB intel ssd as a cache. Even high disk-usage games like GTA V run flawlessly. Others here are saying that you would run into issues with registry or latency, but I have seen none of those issues. If the NAS isn't available, I can reconnect when it is and my games will become playable again. The games stay "installed" in program manager, but the files are on the nas.


~~~Hardware Designer at an undisclosed SSD manufacturer.~~~

Ask me anything about SSDs!

My computer SSD factory keeps power plants in business.

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1 minute ago, leadeater said:

And Mellanox ConnectX-2 are way cheaper than the NICs I use and also better too, prety sure those have RDMA (RoCE).

 

Far as latency goes:

RjDikP.jpg

 

http://www.mellanox.com/related-docs/whitepapers/WP_RoCE_vs_iWARP.pdf

Not fully sure about rdma, but rss for sure.


~~~Hardware Designer at an undisclosed SSD manufacturer.~~~

Ask me anything about SSDs!

My computer SSD factory keeps power plants in business.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
13 hours ago, leadeater said:

@CFstorm

It can be done and it is something I actually do. There are a few problems with using a straight SMB share, not all games can handle it which I found out.

 

There are two ways you can do it:

  1. Use an iSCSI disk from the NAS, little more complex but makes the disk look exactly like any other local connected disk
  2. Use a VHDX file hosted on the SMB share on the NAS and mount that VHDX on the desktop, little easier to do and has all the same up sides to the iSCSI method but also supports SMB3 Multichannel and SMB3 Direct if you buy the correct 10Gb NICs.

I'm using Intel X540-T1 NICs in my server and desktop which doesn't support SMB3 Direct, not that you need it.

 

Edit:

Also note for me my steam library is 1.5TB in size and hosted on all SSD, having it remote using 10Gb doesn't impact performance to a level you can notice. If you used a 10Gb NIC that supported SMB3 Direct (RDMA) then there would be almost no difference between local and remote.

So to clarify, what I'm looking for is only the game files to be stored on the server, but the game should still use the computers hardware and not the server's. Is that what you have?

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4 hours ago, CFstorm said:

So to clarify, what I'm looking for is only the game files to be stored on the server, but the game should still use the computers hardware and not the server's. Is that what you have?

Yes that is correct, files only hosted on the server.

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