James and his colleagues at Nodecraft had just agreed to an aggressive expansion of their business. They had
initially found success providing game server hosting for the Minecraft® community, and had grown
substantially, earning a strong following in the gaming community for providing services at fixed, fair
prices. Yet the team knew that they would have to diversify their portfolio to keep growing — and that day
had arrived. They decided to rewrite their core product Nodepanel into a more dynamic cloud multiplayer
platform and dramatically expand the number of games their hosting servers could support.
Nodecraft is a small team of gamers who believe that online multiplayer gaming can be better. Their
platform is built to allow consumers to get in-game faster and easier than the off-the-shelf systems
that other game providers use. James Ross is a Co-Founder, CTO and most proudly serves as a community
manager at Nodecraft.
As Nodecraft’s CTO, James knew his team could make everything work technically; and as a part-time community
manager, James believed gamers would flock to their newly supported games. James only had one worry: could
Nodecraft afford to be successful with Amazon S3 as their cloud storage provider?
NodePanel 2: The Multi-game Platform
Developing their own technology to deliver the best experience for the gaming community had always been a
critical strategy for Nodecraft. On January 17, 2018, the company launched the NodePanel 2 game server
management platform with support for 12 games. They met with tremendous success.
With NodePanel 2, customers who had previously enjoyed Nodecraft’s Minecraft hosting service could now instantly
swap their game server to any supported game. To enable this, Nodecraft provided a server save-state system that
captured and stored all of the game settings, world files, player status information, and more, so they could be
archived and instantly restored at any time in the future. This enabled teams of gamers to swap into a new game
server environment instantly.
With this new feature, customers could now move from game to game without fear of losing their hard-earned
experience, loot, and world builds they worked on with their friends. Nodecraft’s customers could host a gaming
team playing Minecraft on Saturday, Terraria on Sunday, and Counter Strike: GO on weeknights — all using the
same easy-to-use service. As popularity grew, the number of supported games more than doubled in the first year
The state of each game and all of the associated files needed to restore the game
environment ranged in
size from 500 megabytes to over 15 gigabytes. Any customer around the world could decide to
re-enter a game they had stored at any time and expect to retrieve all of that content immediately.
Behind the Scenes
Another critical strategy at Nodecraft was to architect their service delivery for fastest delivery to customers
all over the world. Almost from the beginning, Nodecraft built their game distribution network around
Cloudflare’s cloud network platform. This allowed Nodecraft to deliver content to their customers faster by
using Cloudflare’s 155 points-of-presence around the world. Nodecraft also relied on Cloudflare for DDoS
protection, Cloudflare’s Argo Smart Routing for intelligent network routing, and more.
Yet, with the introduction of game swapping, data storage for all of the customer server game-save files
began to be a concern. When a customer saved a game, it was stored in Amazon S3. Later, when the customer
wanted to play that game again, the saved version had to be retrieved from S3 and transported over the
Cloudflare CDN to the appropriate Nodecraft game server. This meant that every time a game was retrieved,
Nodecraft paid Amazon for storing customer files in S3, and also paid S3 an
egress fee to download the game
to Cloudflare. Game swapping created more data files to store for each customer, and each file
egress fee when downloaded.
Nodecraft, which prided itself on providing its service levels at a fixed price, now found that storage and
egress costs were quickly eating away at the success of their new game swapping feature.
Leveling Up: Saving 85%
Enter the Bandwidth Alliance, a group of forward-thinking cloud and networking companies committed to
discounting or waiving data transfer (also known as bandwidth) fees for their shared customers. The Nodecraft
team were already familiar with Cloudflare, but were intrigued by Backblaze’s
offering of cloud storage for less than 1/4th the cost of Amazon S3. In addition, as a member of the
Bandwidth Alliance, Backblaze charges $0.00 in egress fees to download data to Cloudflare, effectively creating
a zero-cost data movement bridge from Backblaze B2 to Cloudflare’s global content delivery network.
Nodecraft realized that with a single change they could dramatically reduce their cloud storage fees, and all
egress fees as well, but first they would need to shift their existing customer backup files to Backblaze.
Nodecraft’s DevOps team swung into action, and with a combination of Python tools, shell scripting, and the
Nodecraft and Backblaze APIs, they moved more than 23TB of customer backup
files from Amazon S3 to Backblaze B2 in only 7 hours.
"The combination of Cloudflare and Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage saves Nodecraft almost 85% each month on the
data storage and egress costs versus Amazon S3."
- James Ross, Nodecraft Co-founder/CTO
James estimates that the savings of combining Cloudflare and Backblaze B2 Cloud
Storage saves him almost 85% each month on the data storage and egress costs versus Amazon S3. With
these savings Nodecraft is free to continue adding new game titles to their platform without having to worry
about the wildly popular game swapping feature crushing their bottom line. Best of all, they can focus on making
private online multiplayer gaming server experience great and continue to provide their services at prices that
are fair and affordable for all of their customers.
About Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage
Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage has become the cloud storage of
choice for content creators by offering extreme levels of
content protection and instant availability at one-fourth the
cost of the largest cloud storage solution.
At only $5 per terabyte per month of content stored, creatives
can finally get all of their content into a truly active archive,
streamline their production workflows, and phase out
expensive, hard-to-manage tape and near line archive systems.
Backblaze, with a decade+ track record of cloud storage innovation, manages x petabytes of storage
for its worldwide customer base.
Content is stored with a data durability of 99.999999999% (11 nines) and is covered by an SLA.
There are no pricing tiers, hidden costs or storage minimums. You simply pay $.005 per gigabyte for
content you actually store per month.
There is no charge to move content into your Backblaze account, and costs only $.01 per gigabyte to
download, or at no charge to use with leading cloud services like Cloudflare, Packet, and ServerCentral.
Use your favorite workflow tools that are seamlessly integrated with Backblaze B2, the web interface,
command-line utilities, or the Backblaze API with documentation and examples in C#, Java, Python, Ruby,