Raph Koster couldn't help but wonder when he read the blog post entitled, "Lessons Learned: Sharding for startups," if he had a hand in creating that terminology. Sharding, as this blog post put it, was a method of running databases parallel to one another and making sure that the program could look in the right one for the information it needed. All of the older MMO users in the audience, however, know that this was not the first time the term "sharding" was used with parallel databases.
Raph had coined the phrase "sharding" years before during the inception of Ultima Online. The story writers were looking for a way to tie in the concept of multiple servers running parallel copies of the same world into the lore of the Ultima universe. It was at that point where they got the idea that each server was the reflection in one of the many pieces of the shattered Gem of Immortality from Ultima I -- a shard world. So, is MMO terminology leaking into mainstream database programming? Raph has the whole story over at his blog, where he traces the origins of the term "shard," how it may have gotten used over at Flickr thanks to Game Neverending, and expanded into a term of it's own right. Check out the story, it certain brings back memories of the old days.
Is MMO terminology invading database programming?
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