Discord

Discord is a communications platform built to bring people together around gaming. Discord has hundreds of millions registered users, and millions of these users are active daily.

Challenges  

Discord has about 180 employees, from which a small team of four engineers specifically work on Discords voice and video service infrastructure. The primary motivation to build Discord came from the desire to improve upon the story of existing VoIP services like TeamSpeak and Skype. Mark Smith, Director of infrastructure is responsible for everything Discord does at the back end, ranging from cloud systems to voice and video systems, the software that Discord builds and the hardware they use. He explains the challenges Discord had to face as a start-up: 

“We wanted to do it better than existing VoIP apps, but in order to do that we had to be able to deliver low latency and high-quality audio services all around the world. Since we were a start-up, we were not yet equipped to build up everything that is needed to develop this entire platform around the app by ourselves. We did not have the talent that understood how to build a network or how to maintain the hardware and power in data centers. In addition, we did not have the physical resources around the globe to make this happen. Besides, back in the days as a small start-up, we coped with a challenging timeframe, therefore we needed to find partners to make it happen.”

Looking for the best user experience 

Discord highly values the experience their users have when using the app. A solid low-latency infrastructure is therefore essential. In order to provide this, Discord looks at the quality of service, when looking at different hosting providers.  

“At Discord we care a lot about the experience our users have when using our service. Wherever in the world our users happen to be, they should always have the best experience when using the app. Therefore, we need a solid infrastructure in order to provide this quality to our users." 

Different hosting partners 

i3D.net was not the first hosting provider Discord worked with. Over the years, Discord worked with several other companies that provided them with dedicated servers on different locations. Mark Smith explains that in the past, Discord bought services from many different companies, because they had to keep up with the pace of their growth. The past few years, they became more diligent on collecting data and statistics by monitoring the quality the different networks they were using. They looked at the latency, packet loss, the Mean Opinion Score (MOS)**, number of network outages and how quick users can reconnect to other servers. 

When working with i3D.net we directly get in touch with the departments we need. This allows us to solve problems quickly.” 

Discord started out with 8 different providers and slowly narrowed it down. When looking for partners for hosting their voice and video traffic, they looked at the network infrastructure, the quality of the network, and the ability to partner up. i3D.net is now Discords’ primary VoIP hosting provider. 

“When talking to other companies, most conversations go through the salespeople or account managers. When you have a technical question, it is hard to directly get in touch with the technical people. Sometimes they send you from department to department, by phone or email, this way you lose information. When working with i3D.net we directly get in touch with the departments we need. This allows us to solve problems quickly.” 

Partnership between Discord and i3D.net 

The partnership with i3D.net began in 2017 and started out with just a couple of servers at a few locations. According to Mark Smith, what sets i3D.net apart from other hosting providers is the quality of the privately-owned network that is connected through the largest carriers and internet exchanges in the world. 

"Over time, we noticed that the user experience on i3D.net’s servers was better than on the servers from other providers we had been working with. Besides, we also looked at this partnership from a corporate perspective. i3D.net has full control and ownership over their network and servers. This allows them to respond quickly and accurately to fix any issue that might come up. The entire ecosystem built by i3D.net, including their network and dedicated servers and their help with designing the use case, was exactly what we needed. Other partners we tried to work with, were not able to do so. They either resold network capacity, or they did not have the in-house expertise to build a network effectively based on our needs. In the entire process, i3D.net was very adaptive to Discords’ needs. We also appreciate the feedback the Network team has been giving us when we were looking for a network solution that fits us.” 

The partnership with i3D.net is successful because of the relentless focus on technical excellence regarding the network and server hardware, quick responses, and the ability to partner with us on a level of technical engagement that works for our team. The i3D.net team is able to engage with our engineers that allows us to make the best decisions for our users.

A close cooperation to facilitate fast-paced growth 

According to Bart Kemps, CCO at i3D.net, the privately-owned network of i3D.net and global presence in many data centers across the globe make it possible to offer a low-latency network infrastructure with no down time to fit Discords’ needs. It is that combination that results in excellent quality of service for Discords customers. 
 
In addition, fast-paced growing organizations like Discord require an agile organization to tackle challenges that come with such rapid growth. 

Because Discord is growing so fast, we have to anticipate quickly and creatively to provide the best growth plan for the short term and the long term. This requires an agile organization like i3D.net to be there along every step of Discords journey.

Bart Kemps – CCO at i3D.net 

About Discord

Discord is a communications platform built to bring people together around gaming. Discord has hundreds of millions registered users, and millions of these users are active daily. The app supports video calls, voice chat, and text. Discord is great for gamers who want to use the app to talk to their friends while playing multiplayer games, streaming games and meet up to find other players. Besides, Discord has become a social tool functioning as an online meeting place where people come together to socialize and meet their friends. Discord brings people from all over the world together, while they use the app from their mobile devices or PCs. More and more people use Discord on the go on their mobile devices to stay in touch with their friends, because of the great chat and video services the app offers. 

Our mission is to bring people together around games.

Mark Smith, Director of Infrastructure at Discord 

Mark Smith, Director of Infrastructure at Discord.

*Mean Opinion Score (MOS), is an industry standard that rates the voice and image quality of a VoIP transmission.