Michael Anderberg, IT Pro Evangelist, Microsoft AB

Michael jobbar som IT Pro Evangelist på Microsoft i Sverige och fokuserar framförallt på Windows Plattformen och Säkerhet. Han är också en eftersökt talare både nationellt och internationellt inom dessa ämnen.

The Coolest Guinness World Record Ever - set by Microsoft and Unisys!

The Coolest Guinness World Record Ever - set by Microsoft and Unisys!

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Hi everyone,

This post is in English due to an international audience...

Question: What can you do with an Unisys ES7000 32 CPU / 32 GB RAM Server with Microsoft Windows 2003 Datacenter Edition running on it?

Answer: The coolest Guinness World Record ever :) namely 1061 people playing Counter-Strike 1.6 simultaneously!

First, let me give you some background to this event. For about 10 years now there has been a LAN Party arranged here in Sweden that has grown and grown as the years have gone by. Microsoft Sweden has been sponsors for the last six of these years and I have been working with and at this event every year. Why are we there? Well, firstly, this is the only really big event aimed at young computer interested people in Sweden. Secondly, we feel that the best way of eventually stop piracy and turn them into avid developers focused on our technologies - is to be there, to talk to them and show them that Microsoft is an awesome company with awesome products and technologies. The event itself has now grown to encompass two exhibition halls at the Elmia Exhibition and Congress center in Jönköping, Sweden and runs from Thursday morning to Sundy afternoon day and night. That translates into somewhere around 5500 people with their computers, another thousand just being there being sociable and then crew on top of that. Please look at the PHOTOS to get a feeing for what it’s like :) So in abou a week the voluntary crew builds a network worthy of an Enterprise class company, then run it completely maxed out for four days and finally dismantling it again. One year the ISP that provided the Internet pipe actually had to restrict the Internet pipe after a while as it was becoming impossible to place international phone calls due to the network being used to the extreme. Also electrical power is of course in high demand, so normally they run extension mega-cables to some nearby Ice Hockey stadiums and what not, as the Congress Center's own resources are imply not enough. It has happened that the event itself has led to blacking out the entire city momentarily until the electrical company realized that they had to crank up the hose ;) 

For further information please check out the Dreamhack Website  

This last year, in November 2004, Unisys joined us for the second time at this event. This time with the joint goal of setting an awesome Guinness World Record! A funny anecdote is the American Unisys representative that installed the machine wondered if he'd be needing his suit and tie? It took us a while to explain that no - at this event that would send the wrong message :) - turned out that he later stated that he would never be able to tell his colleagues about this event since it was simply too much fun! :)
Anyway, I think the pictures talk best for themselves but the reason that the official record is a few hundred people lower than the peak number recorded in the logs, is simply that we had a rule that to be part of the record attempt one had to be connected for at least 5 minutes. I should probably say that the game never felt sluggish, although the machine looks maxed out it performed admirable!

So, my fellow Evangelists, if you want to join us this year, the 24-27th of November in Sweden, email me! :)



  • congratulations!
    microsoft stuff is really getting there in terms of stability and scalability. and hopefully security as well with long^Wvista and xp serv^W^W2k3 server.
    but what i don't understand is your hope to stop piracy by organizing a gigantic lan party. why do you think the internet connection was maxed out? everyone mailing job applications to microsoft? ;) apart from the swapping that's going on on the lan...
    anyway, frag on!

  • I am sorry, I wasn't clear on the fact that we are not organizing it, we're just one of the sponsors for the event. And absolutely, we know that there's plenty of piracy going on but we're addressing that one step at the time.

    Six years ago, we handed out beta-copies of Windows 2000 and people were standing n their chairs yelling things like -"Let's burn them!" etc. Today, there's nothing of that and actually quite some interest in who we are and what we do and why. By bringing in the BSA or the police, we'd lose all that in a second, instead we're working at stoping this with the help of the organizers of the event, Swedish law and also by simply talking to people - explaining why it is wrong. Please remember that a good part of this crowd don't even know that wat they're doing is illegal, they just figure that it doesn't matter whether they copy things or not. We have even had people come up to us in our stand and ask for the original CDs for various games so that they could make a copy! That kind of indicates the amount of work it will take to turn this around. Of course we're also using technology to find, track and shut down DC-hubs etc. But we're seeing great progress and simply feel that we have two choices - ignore them or being there talking to them - I for one think the second choice is by far the best!


  • So what do you do with a Unisys ES7000 32 CPU / 32 GB RAM Server with Microsoft Windows 2003 Datacenter...

  • This is old news .) I was in the security crew ^_^

  • Wow!

    Pretty impressive stuff.

    It's a pity such a fantastic hardware setup was burdened with an OS like MS datacenter.

    Seriously, who would invest such a huge amount of money in hardware... only to put windows on it?

    Sounds somewhat akin to buying a pair of $5,000 shoes specifically for repairing overturned clods of dirt on a polo field.

    Forgive me, I'm a unix fan.

    "MS are really getting somewhere with stability and scalability".... uh huh, somewhere the UNIX boys have been for well over a decade (and then some).

  • Hello Richard,

    Do you have any experience with DC systems or only with Windows in your PC to say such things?

    I'm ES7000-guy since 2000 and we have no problems with Datacenter and I tell you why...
    We have very restrictive compatibility lists for matching everything with everything. It's called Datacenter Certification.

    It's stable as a rock because we have proper HW, SW and drivers installed. Most of the problems in PCs are because of faulty drivers and crappy SW. We don't have such problems.
    We always repeat "If you want a mainframe, treat your server like a mainframe" - do not install everything you like from Internet and so on...

    Of course you can always install SUSE on ES7000s (with compatibility lists too...) but still we have no single customer to choose Linux, not DC (or Advanced Server).


  • To be honest, no, I have no experience with DC. I can understand how a very selective hardware and software setup would greatly aid stability, and I don't doubt that the system would be a stable one, however to be even MORE honest, my comments stem from a deep-seated dislike for MS products, technologies and marketing practices in general... I won't bother going into that because firing up an MS-bashing session on a technet blog wouldn't exactly be the greatest idea since sliced bread.

    But I'm quite surprised that all your customers choose DC or AS over a Linux or even BSD solution.... I guess vendor support isn't as much of a hassle for them as having support & know-how of *NIX systems in-house.

    Still, if it held up a decent CS game then I guess some good definitely came from it!

  • I've heard of many ways to try and set a world record and well I shouldn’t' be surprised that technology...

  • I've heard of many ways to try and set a world record and well I shouldn’t' be surprised that technology...

  • I've heard of many ways to try and set a world record and well I shouldn’t' be surprised that technology...

  • Hi!

    Really cool World Record, being part of it must be quite cool!

    One question is still left: how many server instances of Counter-Strike 1.6 were running simultaneously on that machine? I can't imagine over 1000 people playing on the same map...

    Greetings, Thomas

  • Hi Thomas,

    No, you're right they were not all on the same map due to hard-coded limitations in the Half-Life Engine, that we couldn't change.
    However, I think that we had at the most 73 servers running, yet please remember that we actually peaked out at about 1160 simultaneous gamers but we decided that one had to have been playing for at least 5 minutes to count in the total.
    But you're right it was an awesome record to set, quite different from the normal use of an ES7000 as well as Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition. :)


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