The past weekend tens of thousands of people gathered in Jönköping, Sweden to participate in the world’s largest digital festival, DreamHack. DreamHack has been held twice a year in Jönköping since early 2000 and has held the title as the world's largest LAN-party since the 90s.
This latest event was the largest ever, with approximately 9,000 seats for participants and sees 20,000 visitors come to watch the tournament and expo. This means that the network, which is as large as a small municipal network, is put up, used and torn down during just one week, twice a year.
This network consists of about 500 access-switches which are connected via a redundant 10 Gbps distribution layer and two Cisco 7600 to the Internet via four 10 Gbps connections to TeliaSonera. Each participant gets a public IP-address and a 100 Mbit connection to the network.
For the past six events, Procera Networks has provided equipment to help run and manage DreamHack's network. In the beginning, DreamHack was mainly used as a test bed for Procera's equipment, allowing us to test new features. However, during the last couple of events we have played a larger role by providing DreamHack with the ability to shape and selectively redirect traffic to other equipment to provide optimal network traffic usage among players. Sometimes unwanted incoming traffic gets directed to DreamHack, which affects the gaming or streaming servers. When that occurs Procera's PacketLogic equipment is able to mitigate that threat and keep the gaming services up and running for DreamHack. Trust me, in a room full of 9,000 gamers, you don't want to the network to start to run slowly due to external traffic!
The core of DreamHack's network is housed in four racks centrally located in a flashy POP (Point of Presence) for everyone to see and admire.
The POP with the core equipment and dashboards.
Since Procera's equipment sits between the internal network and the Internet, it’s a prime source for statistics on the usage of the network. Procera has a dashboard for the public on large screen above the POP, and you could see a copy of the data here: http://dashboard.dreamhack.se/. Among other cool metrics, the dashboard showed that 362TB data have been transferred, and that there were 17125 unique hosts during the event
Procera also hosts the recurring “Geek Quiz”, which was held for the third time this year. It’s a quiz show done in Jeopardy-style with four contestants and some very technical and/or “geeky” type questions. The host this time was Procera's own Sandra Dahlqvist and the first prize winner was Nicholas who impressed us with his knowledge – Nicholas won a Galaxy TabPRO 12,2" 4G for his efforts!