I get it, EVE is old and the back end cannot be easily optimized without large changes in the source code. From what I’ve heard every system uses only one thread (=1 CPU core) on the server to handle the simulation in that entire system. Multi threading is a bitch to get working and keep in sync, I know from experience. It’s not financially feasible to pay developers to make large changes in the core of the back end which could take months to develop, test and release, nor is feasible to upgrade entire hardware for tens of thousands of dollars every year just to keep a few large battles from lagging out.
Why not buy a few “heavy load” boxes that can at least handle these large battles a little better, for a fraction of a cost of a regular server? I know that this will be a blasphemy to all enterprise system administrators, but hear me out.
Get a handful of regular boxes with binned i7 8700K, overclock them to >= 5.2GHz, cool them with water and assign these boxes dynamically to high load systems (CCP seems to be able to do that already if given heads up about a large fight coming up). These i7 have a much higher single thread performance than CCPs current Xeon E5-2667 v3 that are used as nodes (Cinebench single thread performance - 8700K is 30% faster with stock clocks, probably 40%+ faster when overclocked) and the i7 are tens times cheaper than Xeons.
Sure, it won’t be ideal, it is not a fix to the problem, but merely a temporary improvement. Even with i7, things will still slow down, but a performance improvement of close to 40% for a fraction of a cost of a regular enterprise level server is not that high of a risk? I know that companies and system administrators think it’s a unfathomable to use consumer chips in a production level enterprise network, but these boxes wouldn’t be used 24/7, so their reliability risks diminish heavily. There’s a reason why some of the largest hosting companies in the world like OVH use 7700K for game servers in their datacenters.
Obviously I’m not CCP server engineer, I don’t know how their network, virtualization, SANs, load balancing, database clusters and all that are set up, but I think that a performance increase of 30-40% during battles for a low cost (compared to the other available solutions) would be easily noticeable and appreciated by a lot of players, corporations and alliances.