What’s it like to handle World of Warcraft’s servers?

Believe it or not, setting up gear in order to manage the huge online traffic of World of Warcraft is a bit different from hosting a LAN-party in your living room for some DotA-sessions. Billions of things (educated guess) take place simultaneously and this information needs to be sent without latency to millions of computers (another educated guess) all the time. The ones responsible for keeping the action going is a Swedish company called TeliaSonera. It started out nine years ago with a little something called Battle.net and the rest is, as you know, history. TeliaSonera owns no less than 43,000 route kilometers of network fiber. More than the circumference of the earth. Shit-load of coolness.

Swedish magazine Metro conducted an interview with Vlad Ihora, Head of gaming at TeliaSonera International Carrier, about the ordeals and trials of that responsibility. “If you don’t have the capacity to offer the online service, then you can’t have an online game,” he said. “Sometimes people tend to forget that the most important aspect of online gaming is in fact being online.”

According to Ihara, TeliaSonera could literally be regarded as one of the upholders of the internets. “We have the advantage of owning our whole network, which means that we are physically covering all of Europe with own fiber, not to mention our US network,” Ihara explained. “On top of all that we have one of the top five global IP networks out there so you could think of us as one of the pillars of the world wide web.” he continued.

The continuous growth of World of Warcraft is apparently not a problem for TeliaSonera, since they’ve already secured the foundations and are instead focusing on the effectiveness of the network.

“We welcome the growth,” Ihara said. “Our network is big enough to handle it. It’s not an issue of having to place more fibre, it’s already there, and we’re upgrading our hardware on an on-going basis.”