Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:16 pm Post subject: What are subdomains, and when to use them
This article will outline what subdomains are, what benefits they provide in a rental environment, and when not to use subdomains.
What is a subdomain? A subdomain is a new GameCreate domain which resides under your main (or top level) domain.
Subdomains are like top level domains, however they differ in the following ways:
* Subdomains cannot own hosts. They inherit the hosts from their parent domain.
* Users with System access to the parent domain may login to any subdomain without having explicit permission to enter it.
* Each subdomain is given a fresh copy of game files. If you modify the game files for Battlefield 2 in the parent domain, this will not effect the game files for the subdomain. This allows the subdomain to control their own environment for servers which would be running under this subdomain.
In this example, I will deal with Mammoth Media and our server Rental Environment, and some imaginary public servers that we run from our domain as well.
Using subdomains in a server rental environment
Subdomains offer some great flexability in managing a server rental environment, where customers will be renting servers.
Some common challanges rental providers face with providing customer's with server rentals include:
Flexability of maintaining a large amount of servers Each server a customer owns needs to be controllable and configurable by the customer through an automated means, without the need for support staff to manually update configuration files or restart servers.
GameCreate takes care of this problem by allowing users to modify server configuration's and restart their servers on demand.
Software Installs Many customer's like to modify their game installations. For example, a Counter-Strike customer may want to install additional maps for their server.
If you have many rental customers's servers running off the same game install, including these maps for one customer would effect other customer's environment with (possibly unwanted) files and extra content they may not want to use or see.
GameCreate takes care of this problem by providing a fresh environment for each subdomain. When a software installation takes place in a subdomain, the software is installed in a fresh directory. Each subdomain (and the parent domain) will have its own copy of 'Counter-Strike', allowing one rental customer to have a map pack installed, without effecting any other customers.
Software Updates When a new game patch is released, software updates can be a daunting task, where support staff would need to manually shutdown each rental server, update each customer's copy of the software, and then start the servers back up again.
GameCreate eliminates this unnecessary and tiresom work through automated software updates. When a new game patch is released, the GameCreate content team will update the game software on our content server and then roll it out to everyone.
This rollout is completly automated. Even if you have over one hundred different copies of Counter-Strike installed over twenty host computers, GameCreate will take care of updating each and every one of them in a matter of minutes.
Server's which will be updated will automatically be suspended, have their software updated, and then automatically started again once the software update is complete.
Additionally, if you setup your own content master, you will have complete control over the content that is distributed to your installations via GameCreate, and be able to, for example, distribute a map pack to every installation of Counter-Strike at the click of a button. All future installs would include this map pack, too.
FTP Access by rental customers to their game server installs Many rental environment's offer customer FTP access to their server's as a selling point.
With GameCreate, an FTP Server is built into the client itself. If you choose to enable FTP access (either disabled, limited to uploads/downloads only, or full access), customer's may access their software installation's via FTP without any added work on your part. No need to manually add user accounts or ensure the user would not be able to access other customer's directories.
As an example, if a customer had Read and Write access to a server under the 'andrew' subdomain on Mammoth Media, the user would be able to FTP (if enabled) into the host computer the server is running on, and be presented with their software's installation folder - And upload a map pack, and then restart the server via GameCreate.
If the user has their permission to the server removed, they also immediatly lose their permission to FTP into the host computer, too.
Extensive Permission System When giving a rental user access to modify their server, you dont want to allow them to do too much.
GameCreate allows you to specify what permission a user has to your services. You can allow a rental user to start, stop and restart their server, modify its configuration, but no access to install new games or add new servers.
Additionally, you can give specific users more control over your system to install new games, move servers, delete servers, etc, that would be best assigned to support staff to process rental orders.
Automation Automation of a range of tasks is helpful to offload the need for human intervention.
GameCreate provides web services (See your Web Services tab under your Domain) that allows you to automate a wide range of tasks over web services that you could do through the web site.
For example, Mammoth Media's rental service is completly automated. Through web services, when a customer create's a new user account and purchases a Battlefield 2 subscription, the following actions are taken:
Web Services instruct's GameCreate to:
* Create a new subdomain the Mammoth Media domain (eg, 'andrew')
* Install Battlefield 2 on a specific host computer
* Create a new Battlefield 2 server on the host computer with some default settings.
* Assign several permission's to that user's account on the server, so they may modify its settings and be able to restart it at will.
All of the above was completly automated through web service calls. At no time was there any interaction or order processing made by a person.
When should I not use subdomains?
If you are managing a large farm of servers, and you would like some user's to be able to modify and control servers of a specific game (or that reside on a specific host computer), you can assign permission's to all servers of a specific game (or host) through a single permission assignment on the game or host entity.
As an example, you may have 10 host computers each with a large collection of Battlefield 2, Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat servers.
You also have a few trusted people who you would like to give the ability to in order to run your servers.
Without having to visit every Battlefield 2 server individually, you can visit the 'Battlefield 2' permission tab, and assign a user permission to control and modify all servers of this game.
Users with this permission would only see Battlefield 2 under your domain, and not the other games - unless you gave them permission to do so!
This allows System users (those with access to everything) the ability to see every single server, game and host from the main domain, and also allows them to assign lesser permissions to other users to work from the same domain, but have far limited permission's to what they may access.
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