The Master Chief in the cloud: Halo 5 uses Azure Log Analytics to manage telemetry

343 Industries is always looking to provide the best Halo 5 Guardians gaming experience possible for its fans on Xbox One. In order to achieve that 343 Industries uses extensive telemetry from its Halo 5 Guardians game servers and Xbox One consoles. Monitoring Halo 5 matchmaking quality and network latency are just some of the areas that 343 Industries tracks.

The massive amount of Halo 5 data that 343 Industries has needs to be organized and analyzed to provide Halo 5 die-hards a smooth and uninterrupted playing experience. In order to be able to manage the billions-upon-billions of telemetry statistics, 343 Industries relies on Azure Event hubs to manage everything.

With Azure Event hubs, 343 Industries is able to unlock insights into how players play Halo 5. Azure Event hubs make it easier to fix Halo 5 network and game problems as they arise, and the Halo team can pinpoint the problem easier than manually trying to search through all the data.

Part of Microsoft's Operations Management Suite, Log Analytics, provides 343 Industries with the ability to catalog and search log data and provide data visualizations across the various Halo 5 data resources. 343 Industries met with Microsoft Log Analytics and set some ground rules on what they needed for Halo 5:

  • Halo 5 needed near-real-time log search ability. 343 Industries wanted to limit the time from when an event was generated to when it is searchable in Microsoft Log Analytics to under a minute.
  • Scale to support Halo 5’s the tens of billions of telemetry events generated daily
  • Must support Azure Event hubs
  • Support Microsoft Bond-based event message format. Bond is a framework that supports serialization and deserialization for high-scale services.

In order to meet these requirements, Microsoft Log Analytics had to somehow "ingest" the information already contained in the Azure Event hubs for 343 Industries. Here is a diagram representing the Microsoft Log Analytics Event Hub Ingestion service.

Halo 5
Overview of Microsoft Log Analytics Event Hub Ingestion service for Halo 5 Guardians
  1. Bond-based telemetry event data from consoles and game servers sent to Azure Event hub(s)
  2. Event hub Ingestion Service subscribes to Azure Event hub’s consumer groups and listens for incoming event messages
  3. Pulls event message schema from Halo 5’s blob schema store. The event message schema was stored in Azure Blob store and not included in the event message. This option was chosen to keep the event message as compact as possible to conserve client band-width
  4. The event message data is then posted to and ingested by Microsoft Log Analytics Search cluster. If for any reason the Event hub ingestion service is unable to successfully post, the event message data will be sent to Retry Queue. Queued retry event messages will then reattempt to post the data to Search cluster

Microsoft uses Halo 5 Guardians as an example of how Microsoft Log Analytics works and how it may be able to help your company with its data search and data analysis needs. With Log Analytics, Microsoft can handle any company's data needs both large and small.

While the Microsoft Log Analytics Event Hub Ingestion service was built specifically as a customized service for Halo 5 Guardians, there will be a more general release of other data analysis options available for Microsoft Log Analytics customers available in the future.

More information is available on Microsoft's Azure website.

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