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Database “sharding” got here from UO? – Raph’s Web site

Database “sharding” got here from UO? – Raph’s Web site

2023-04-07 03:36:20

Lessons Learned: Sharding for startups is a technical submit about database scalability. What caught my eye was the time period. What an odd time period — “sharding.” Why would a database be described that means?

So I began studying a bit about it. It principally means operating a bunch of parallel databases and searching into the appropriate one, moderately than attempting to cram every thing into one.

Close to as I can inform, a fast Google appears to say that the time period happened because of a guy who worked at Friendster and Flickr, and appears to . Wikipedia has solely had an article for a short time. Within the remark thread at Classes Realized, there’s point out of the time period being utilized in 2006.

Flickr, in fact, was born as an MMO known as Game Neverending. Actually, I used to be quoted in Ludicorp’s marketing strategy, and Stewart Butterfield had requested if I might be an advisor, however I couldn’t do it on the time due to my contract with Sony. Sigh. Anyway, I’d be shocked if the time period “shard” hadn’t been thrown round these workplaces… as a result of in MMOs, in fact, “shards” has a really particular which means and historical past.

It means database partitioning — of worlds. Parallel worlds every operating the identical static template database supply, however evolving totally different runtime databases. However these have been simply known as “servers” — like, Meridian 59 had bunches of them, they usually had numbers as a substitute of the widespread observe of names that’s in use at this time.

A snippet from the UO intro movie

A snippet from the UO intro film

No, “shards” happened particularly as a result of after we realized we would want to run a number of complete copies of Ultima On-line for customers to connect with, we would have liked to provide you with a fiction for it. I went off and skim an entire mess of stuff about early Ultima lore and tried to provide you with a fictional justification. What I ended up with is described here pretty well: that the evil wizard Mondain had tried to realize management over Sosaria by trapping its essence in a crystal. When the Stranger on the finish of Ultima I defeated Mondain and shattered the crystal, the crystal shards every held a refracted copy of Sosaria.

It was a really very particular phrase chosen as a result of, properly, it was a bit of a crystal, which was a very fictional invention. If Mondain had captured Sosaria on a parchment or in a portray, I’d have stated “a tatter” or a “fragment” or some such. However within the authentic U1, it particularly stated he had used a crystal to realize energy. We even talked about phrases like “multiverse” and the like on the time and dismissed them as comic-book geeky and not likely Ultima-flavored… so “shard” it was.

Now, from there time saved marching ahead as every parallel Sosaria developed in tandem. (UO was presupposed to be between U3 and U4, by way of chronology). The distinction is, a few of them received the Avatar (despatched by the Time Lord) and a few didn’t. A few of them have been captured by The Guardian, and we invented the notion that Shadowlords have been primarily evil beings created from shards he had captured. Actually, the beta check shard finally was captured on this means — when you learn up on it, you’ll discover that basically, there must be a fourth Shadowlord operating round now.

Original planned UO map, photo by Cory Doctorow, CC BY-SA

Unique deliberate UO map, picture by Cory Doctorow, CC BY-SA

(Initially, the landmass of Second Age was presupposed to be Ambrosia from Ultima III, and there’s really a spot up north that’s the place Exodus is meant to go. We even made the artwork for the whirlpool that’s presupposed to go there, after which simply by no means put it in. However that’s an entire different story…)

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(Oh… after which why does the Stranger within the authentic UO intro film have an Ankh on his chest? As a result of U9 was in improvement aready, and no person had time to make a brand new mannequin. ???? So it’s the identical 3d mannequin as was utilized in U9, which didn’t ship till years later. So expedience led to a fictional glitch.)

In any case, we known as parallel servers “shards” and it turned a time period used often although not universally as a time period of artwork inside the discipline. You’ll hear people who labored on MMOs within the 90s use server and shard interchangeably — typically saying “shard” to reference a parallel server cluster moderately than a bodily server.

So, did this database time period come from a doc that I dashed off one afternoon in 1996? Umm… I’m not certain. Looks like an fascinating coincidence, if not.

I ponder if I nonetheless have that doc…

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