What do games have to do with Database Management?

Plenty. With the release of Halo 3 this week, lots of buzz has been given to the stunning graphics and gameplay. But games like Halo have a lot more to do with Management Tools than you might think.

In a game situation, especially mulit-player versions, the players have to work with each other in a dynamically changing situation, choose new weapons, and deal with communications. The same often holds true in database management. You fire off a backup, open a query window, and monitor the status of locks on the server, sometimes all at once. Most of us are using mulitple monitors for this.

We've been looking at interesting concepts from games in light of management of a system. For instance, in the game world, players have a "heads up" display that superimposes over the current screen. The player can glance at the display without interrupting the play. Could this same concept be used to tell the DBA that a certain threshold has been reached on memory or drive activity? In the game, new weapons are selected on the run. Could a graphical interface allow me to launch a new tool window seamlessly?

I've even imagined a "game" interface for system management, where you hunt down and "kill" a rogue process. It could even shoot back! No, we're not planning to put that into the product (much to my dismay :) but the ideas in gaming do have some real attraction for working with large systems.


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