Inside the Engine Room

Information Week has a fascinating article out today on the data centers and infrastructure behind the SL Grid. Some interesting points from the article:

  • The present theoretical maximum concurrency of the Grid is 100,000 users. Of course, we start running into trouble long before we hit that mark, as I’m sure you’re all too aware…
  • The article states that users who buy a sim get their own server. I think that’s mistaken; I had always understood that each sim was run on its own CPU core (meaning a typical dual-processor dual-core server could support 4 sims).
  • LL is “undecided” as to whether they will open-source the server code. Of course, they may not have to; one Slashdot commenter pointed out the great strides being made by the OpenSim project. Hmm…think one of our customers would let me borrow a cluster to set up a mini-Grid? 🙂
  • The database currently holds 34 terabytes of user-created content, and 2/3 of users are actively creating content, a sharp contrast to most other services, where the proportion of readers to creators is much higher.
  • The Dallas facility went live in December. Sims in close proximity to one another in Grid space tend to “live” at the same facility in real-world space. No word if there will be any other datacenters set up anytime soon.
  • The rollout of the Mono-based LSL will happen in the second quarter of 2007. Later will come means of using other CLI-based languages to do SL scripting, such as C# and Visual Basic.
  • LL is taking measures to minimize congestion on the Grid, including possibly limiting logins to Premium accounts at certain times (which Danielle doesn’t like) and moving more services in SL to be Web-accessible. Another upcoming tool is something that will allow Residents to see how much system resources they’re using (and how much lag they’re creating). Finally, some hope for the blingtards?

Sadly, there were no pictures accompanying the article; those of you looking for datacenter pr0n will have to look elsewhere. 🙂 But it’s still worth your time. You might also check out the Slashdot thread inspired by the article.

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2 Comments

Filed under Current Events, Technical

2 responses to “Inside the Engine Room

  1. “Finally, some hope for the blingtards?” Yeah, I suppose it might be useful for a small minority of users who will bother to look at it and do something about it 🙂

    One fear I would have is that providing such atool would be giving extra ammo to griefers, meaning people who would intentionally use this tool to determine exactly how much extra load they are placing on a server with their presence and toys in order to cause a degradation in performance and annoy the land owners.

    If the tool allows, as I would hope it will, users to see everyone affecting performance on a sim then at least residents and land owners alike will know who is causing the worst of it. At that point they can talk to them about it hoping it’s a user unaware of the problems they’re causing. If the tool instead allows users to only see their own behavior and maybe the land owner to see everyone’s then this won’t be as useful an advancement as it might otherwise be.

    Regardless, cool news and thanks for finding and sharing the article with us 🙂

  2. Many tools, both in SL and outside of it, can be used for good or evil. That doesn’t mean I would want to deny the tools from existing, so long as the net benefits outweigh the costs. (This was unclear with CopyBot, for instance.) But the uses of the tool still bear watching.

    I think estate owners already have the power to see which scripts on their estates are chewing up the most system resources. If this was merely extended down to the level of individuals, or even to landowners, it would still be useful.

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