Founded in 2004, iRacing is the world’s premier motorsports racing simulation and the co-creation of Dave Kaemmer, co-founder of Papyrus Racing Games, and John Henry, principal owner of the Boston Red Sox. An online, subscription-based service for Microsoft Windows, Linux and OS X, iRacing.com reaches a dedicated, passionate group of motorsport enthusiasts, real-world racers, and fans in over 200 countries. As the ultimate place to race online, iRacing offers everything from NASCAR and IndyCar to Aussie V-8 Supercars and Grand Prix racing with over 40 official series and more than 400 private leagues.
To satisfy ever-changing user requirements, growing calls for more content, and a demanding release schedule, iRacing needed to ensure it could distribute its online game products on a consistent basis and in a timely manner. What makes iRacing's simulation different is that the company updates its application regularly. Each quarter, the company distributes new releases and multiple patches to approximately 60,000 active users who download software updates the instant they become available. According to Chris Page, Vice President of Technology at iRacing Motorsport Simulations, the biggest challenge to delivering satisfying Internet racing experiences is distributing game application updates to users quickly and without fail.
iRacing needed to meet two key requirements to support its objectives:
Knowing they needed a partner that could support the worldwide distribution of large files, iRacing quickly determined that Akamai was the right fit. “We could have built out our own network, but that wasn’t practical from an operational or financial perspective. We recognized Akamai as a leader in this space and knew its network could handle our unpredictable traffic surges,” explains Page.
Seamless integration between iRacing’s simulated racing application and the game software downloads served by Akamai dramatically improved download delivery speed. As a result, users didn’t need to try to determine which server might offer the best game download performance. They simply requested that their simulation system be updated and the Akamai content delivery network distributed the latest updates as quickly as possible regardless of the user’s location. If demand is high, the Akamai network scales to deliver software downloads at the highest speeds possible. “To our customers, who want to race only the best simulators with others around the world, iRacing is performing ‘magic,’ but we know that it is the partnership and tight integration between iRacing and Akamai that delivers for our customers,” says Page.
From the start, iRacing wanted to prevent unauthorized access to its software. One concern was that those with ill intent would repeatedly download the game files to drive up the company’s costs. iRacing also worried about its intellectual property getting into the hands of competitors. To address this issue, Akamai helped the company develop a unique authentication solution involving a three-way handshake.
With a lean staff of about 40 employees, iRacing is committed to focusing its energy and talent on continually improving the simracing experience for its members. To that end, Page feels the biggest business impact of partnering with Akamai has been freeing the company to focus in this way. At the same time, Akamai has helped iRacing achieve its vision of growing the business. In fact, the company supported 40% year-over-year growth in online traffic with Akamai’s services in place. “Our partnership with Akamai gives us confidence that we can grow to a million members and still deliver the level of performance our users expect,” concludes Page.
iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations, headquartered in Bedford, MA, was founded in September 2004 by David Kaemmer, co-founder of Papyrus Racing Games, and John Henry, principal owner of the Boston Red Sox. iRacing.com’s mission is to create the world’s leading and most authentic PC-based racing simulation and grow a new branch of motorsport through real-time, online competition – otherwise known as simracing. iRacing now has over 60,000 members and growing every day