März 12, 2007

Inside Second Life’s Data Centers

Well, after I finished my roundup I’ve found an article from last week in my feedreader run by Infoweek called "Inside Second Life’s Datacenter." It showed up today at Slashdot, so… it should be already very popular now.

But there are some real interesting facts in this article I’d like to point out:

  • the monthly growth rate is about 20% at the moment. That’s big!
  • The maximum possible number of concurrent online users at the moment is claimed to be at 100.000 avatars. I don’t believe this number, they’ve got already issues when the number goes about 30.000 anytime at the moment, the grid destabilizes and becomes unreliable. But there’s reliability in this unreliability, since you just need to take a look at the online users count and the rule of thumb…
  • Are you seated? Really? Better take a seat. Ok. Their goal is – no joke – to be able to support 10s of millions of simultaneous logins! Bwahaha! Sorry, better first fix the existing login count and make the system scale more well before planning such… high… numbers! *coughs*
  • Second Life consists of around 2.000 servers at the moment running on Debian Linux with MySQL. Debian… of all of the systems. Arg. Right, that’s the linux distribution that constantly fails to deliver a new version at the planned timeline reliable (3 years was the worst delay ever, the now planned release of last December is still not there) and is there even more worse in this aspect than Microsoft can ever hope to be! No wonder so much are switching to Ubuntu. Besides, some of the packages are really outdated and some of their maintainers have real weird point of views. And MySQL – well, some still consider it still something of a toy database. It still needs to overcome that image and that’s why always so many recommend LL to switch to Postgresql.
  • If the server side part is going to be opensourced or not is still in the discussion. Nothing new there. Many possibilities, not all include an opening of the source code.
  • They’re looking for an IT guy who can help them scale their infrastructure from 2.000 servers up to 10.000 servers.
  • They’re trying to make the LSL-implementation faster. That’s nothing new so far, too, that’s their Mono-Project. Testing of it should start in the second quarter 2007.
  • Something new about LSL: it was written in one week back then, and the Mono-Project will enable to script in other languages like Visual Basic or C#.
  • Some new measures under consideration to manage growth: limiting logins at the weekends and moving some of the Second Life experience to normal web servers (rubbish, this should be all in the client IMHO, this is Second Life, not Web 2.0), changes in the database infrastructure and the availability of tools that show you how much computing power your avatar needs, especially when it uses much attachments and such.

Some of it sounds nice, other things – 10s millions of concurrent logins – sound more like Science Fiction at the moment. 100.000 concurrent logins are supported at the moment? Well… yes, could be, but the SL experience then is going to be more like lag hell on earth I am afraid.

So the point is: they’re aware of the problems, trying to fix them and planning big things for the future, but hopefully they’re able to fix SL first.

Another roundup

It’s been a while since my last blogging spree that I’ve posted any new article at all. So, without much foreword, some new thingies:

  • Dedric Mauriac blogged about the in world building of Packaging and Converting Essentials. Seems he really likes the place.
  • The picture that I made of the P&CE building is now used in their in world ad with permission. Nice. Perhaps I should start a career as photographer in Second Life. Then again my photo editing skills are surely not high enough, I am more a technician than anything else.
  • A change of one of the last updates that not everybody has notices comes into effect now – you can spend maximum 999.999 L$ per classified now instead of 99.999 L$ before. This means the maximum went from something like 357 US$ up to 3571 US$ per week. And there are already ads in the system where the author of it plays around 200.000 L$ per week for it, that’s about 714 US-$ for the sum in real money. So these guys are either very wealthy or making much money in world already.
  • Some days ago the Second Life Herald run an article about ageplay. While normal ageplay is nothing to say against it, there’s also sex ageplay in the game (child escorts/teen escorts), and this seems to has a market, too. Now how sick is this? It’s even against the law in many countries. Of course, the normal ageplayers are not against the law at all, but the growth rate is amazing: 1 % per week. This means exponential growth of course and is something that cannot go on forever.
  • The next planned downtime this week brings us again no update of the primary client, while the First Look client got some of them already. Could be, that they need the whole timeslot, could be not. But they should finally take some time to fix the most annoying bugs in the main client, namely the inability at the moment to offer teleports to avatars who are not your friends and the annoying water-bug. Or they should finally setup a source repository and give some well accredited programmers from the community write-level access. Then it would have already been fixed since ages!
  • Here’s another blog entry from a journalist of the Handelsblatt about SL in general. The essence of it is: Second Life is mostly an Empty Life, sex is the most driving force behind the in world economy, rw companies normally don’t blend in real well and it’s overhyped at great lengths. Period.
  • And now for something completely different: wannabe terrorists planned to attack a very important Internet node in London. They were captured before they could act on their plan. This still shows us: without a first life there’s no second life and we should be thankful they were captured beforehand.