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Old 08-29-2017, 05:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Second Life on a cloud?

I was sent an E-mail from Linden Lab informing me of the new features that they will be adding.

"Dear Second Life Residents, It’s been an exciting summer at Linden Lab. Second Life celebrated its 14th anniversary, and shortly thereafter we also opened Sansar's creator beta to the world. In addition, we are thrilled to announce a set of investments into Second Life and its communities that will include enhancements to our engineering support, customer support, billing systems and upgrades, and customer acquisition outreach. In all, we’ve budgeted many millions (USD, not L$...) in the coming year to make SL even better, and we’ll keep everyone up to date on improvements as they roll out (or sooner). This summer’s milestones have given us all another opportunity to reflect on just how strong the Second Life community is, what an incredible history SL has had so far, and what an amazing future lies ahead for the virtual world and its Residents.
For more than 14 years, you’ve created memorable experiences, diverse communities, close relationships, thriving economies, engaging art, exciting events, and amazing creations of all kinds. You’ve made the world, and we’re proud to provide the platform and tools that help you to do so. We at Linden continue to be impressed by what we witness from Residents every day, and we want you to know that we share that commitment to and love for Second Life. Here are a few of the things you can look forward to soon: • We are hard at work upgrading all of the SL infrastructure and moving it to the cloud, which will bring a wealth of opportunities to Residents near and far, and allow us, among many other things, to make SL more performant for Residents across the world from us. It may also allow us to introduce new products with more flexible pricing. • We’re working on several features to increase the value of Premium subscriptions. Most recently we gave Premium members priority access to near-full events, and shortly, we’ll be ready to unveil another bit of exciting news for subscribers. • We're building out a series of great extensions to Windlight (code name: EEP!), which will give value, flexibility, and new marketability to land, and will make Windlight settings tradeable assets. • We have an extension to the animation system in the works (code name: Animesh) that will allow non-avatar objects to use more powerful and efficient skeletal animations the way avatars can today, and even more changes planned for creators and merchants later in the year. • We’ve also got new experiences and events coming. An exciting new grid-wide gaming experience is coming soon! The team can’t wait to share the details with you in just a few days. Also in the works for this fall is an updated Halloween Haunted Tour, with new spooktacular events to celebrate. Not to mention, we’re turning 15 next year - SL15B, baby! That’s an incredible milestone and we are looking forward to collaborating with you to produce an amazing celebration. Long live Second Life and long live the creative process in the amazing worlds that you've trail-blazed! Thank you for filling SL with your creations and communities all of these past 14+ years, and here’s to many, many more together. Best, Ebbe Linden, CEO & the Second Life Team"

What type of changes would operating Second Life on a cloud bring?
"It may also allow us to introduce new products with more flexible pricing."
Inexpensive tier levels?
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's an interesting letter all round, not because of the specific details, but because of the overall message. This seems to me, a strong declaration that the Lab intends to continue supporting Second Life into the foreseeable future. If I were to hazard a guess, the reason it's come out today is a direct response to the FUD generated by Sansar. From the get go, despite everything the Lab has said to the contrary, there's been endless speculation that Sansar would replace SL. With the recent Sansar "beta" these fears have only increased. This letter was clearly intended to address those concerns.

ps: George, you might want to consider adding some white space to your post. Walls of text aren't inviting to read. I only responded because I read the original email, not your copy/paste.
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Old 08-30-2017, 12:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Does being in the Cloud means that SL will be less laggy, cause all cache will be stored there instead on my computer?
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Old 08-30-2017, 02:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My handrolled guess is, they realised they'd have to put servers across the world to get the ping times required for Sansar, and they're going to piggyback SL in those installations. Though, I suppose using the word "cloud" means they're leasing those things.
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Old 08-30-2017, 02:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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yeah when a company mentions they are moving to a cloud service, its basicly saying they are moving to third party servers
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Old 08-30-2017, 03:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I had read a case study about Linden Lab working with Amazon's cloud servers. I will have to dig it up...
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Old 08-30-2017, 05:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I thought SL had been in the cloud -on amazon servers, for years as it was?
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Old 08-31-2017, 02:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Why didn't the residents get this letter?
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Old 08-31-2017, 02:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The new Windlight expansion certainly has my interest. Second Life could actually end up reaping a lot of rewards from Sansar development.
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Old 08-31-2017, 03:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I thought SL had been in the cloud -on amazon servers, for years as it was?
They've been using AWS for the CDN. Region and asset servers are still in Lab owned (or leased) data centres.
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Old 08-31-2017, 03:55 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soda Sullivan View Post
The new Windlight expansion certainly has my interest. Second Life could actually end up reaping a lot of rewards from Sansar development.
The Windlight stuff got a mildly bitter chuckle from me. I first heard of it during an (iirc) TPV dev meeting and...

Hang on, I need to prepare for this bit.

/me reaches into hammerspace and pulls out a Penny Patton cosplay outfit, complete with horns, a tail and enormous udders. She slips into it and adjusts.

Ahem.

"Windlight changes and updates? That's laughable. The "new" abilities they've mentioned is only stuff they said they were going to do years ago! Seriously! Back when Windlight was first added to the viewer, all this stuff was going to be added "soon.." It's not really changes to Windlight, it's more so that nearly 10 years later, the Lab are finally getting round to finishing it. Gee, thanks Linden Lab.
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Old 08-31-2017, 04:14 AM   #12 (permalink)
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and will make Windlight settings tradeable assets
I won't make fun of Linden Lab for finally doing what they said they'd do 10 years ago.

Instead I'll say them actually finally doing it is 1000% more interesting than Sansar.
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Old 08-31-2017, 04:21 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I won't make fun of Linden Lab for finally doing what they said they'd do 10 years ago.

Instead I'll say them actually finally doing it is 1000% more interesting than Sansar.
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to see it's finally going to get done. It might even inspire me to finish that suite of Windlights I once told Jo Yardley I was making for Berlin.

I'm still going to rag on them over the delay though.
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Old 08-31-2017, 11:09 AM   #14 (permalink)
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They've been using AWS for the CDN. Region and asset servers are still in Lab owned (or leased) data centres.
they had several at one point, boston,dc,arizona, now it's just the scottsdale datacentre they are in. I'm 2 hours from it and my pings hardly ever get above 23ms because of how I'm routed.
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Old 08-31-2017, 04:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
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"What type of changes would operating Second Life on a cloud bring?"

By itself, very little. Computationally, a cloud is just a cluster of other people's computers.

Most of the differences between clouds and classical hosted servers are:

1. It may be quicker to spin up new instances of a server in a cloud environment, if the server is designed for rapid replication and instantiation. The changes necessary to make this possible will also make it easier to spin up new instances in a hosted environment. The only real difference here is that the cloud instance is less likely to require physical acquisition and provisioning of a new server.

2. For a given load and performance level, cloud based services are considerably more expensive. This is offset by the lower management cost, and the ability to temporarily spin up and then shut down servers when load fluctuates.

3. Latency to storage is less controllable in a cloud environment.

I'd be more interested in them implementing volumetric clouds, TBH.
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Old 09-01-2017, 02:42 AM   #16 (permalink)
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So...what happens to things like pets and clocks and vendor server boxes on cloud sims spinning up and shutting down...?
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Old 09-01-2017, 03:22 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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So...what happens to things like pets and clocks and vendor server boxes on cloud sims spinning up and shutting down...?
What happens to those things during rolling restarts; the same I imagine?
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Old 09-01-2017, 03:54 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to see it's finally going to get done. It might even inspire me to finish that suite of Windlights I once told Jo Yardley I was making for Berlin.

I'm still going to rag on them over the delay though.
How does one make Windlight settings? Is there one that features an eclipse of the sun or moon? Is that even possible?

Should this be a different thread?
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Old 09-01-2017, 08:33 AM   #19 (permalink)
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So...what happens to things like pets and clocks and vendor server boxes on cloud sims spinning up and shutting down...?
Yes, that is a bit of a bugger, isn't it? Perhaps they'll make cloud sims a low cost tier like homesteads.

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What happens to those things during rolling restarts; the same I imagine?
I've priced this for a compute-intensive customer use case. Cloud servers cost way more than dedicated servers, if they're actually in use 24/7. The only thing that makes them competitive is that you can massively overprovision them and spin them down and release all the resources back to the vendor when they're not in use.
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Old 09-01-2017, 08:35 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Stonecutter View Post
"What type of changes would operating Second Life on a cloud bring?"

By itself, very little. Computationally, a cloud is just a cluster of other people's computers.

Most of the differences between clouds and classical hosted servers are:

1. It may be quicker to spin up new instances of a server in a cloud environment, if the server is designed for rapid replication and instantiation. The changes necessary to make this possible will also make it easier to spin up new instances in a hosted environment. The only real difference here is that the cloud instance is less likely to require physical acquisition and provisioning of a new server.

2. For a given load and performance level, cloud based services are considerably more expensive. This is offset by the lower management cost, and the ability to temporarily spin up and then shut down servers when load fluctuates.

3. Latency to storage is less controllable in a cloud environment.

I'd be more interested in them implementing volumetric clouds, TBH.

Some other random speculation, some of which they may already be doing, though I imagine Amazon does it better because, EC2.

One vibe I got was that it will cost significantly less for them, and they intend to pass some of that to the users. Not a lot, but maybe another prim bump or more stipend or land or something. the whole "Make Premium better" note.

In Amazon's virtualized environment, I imagine they could much more easily spin up and halt regions completely based on who is using them. A region that never gets any traffic would cost them nothing and be able to be instantly brought up if for whatever reason, someone TPd there. This would definitely mean a lot less infrastructure costs to LL.

On the other side of that, Amazon's system is likely a lot more dynamically flexible. So regions that get traffic spikes, instead of running into "This region is full",could just keep pumping themselves up larger and larger with more CPU and more RAM to handle the increasing load. In theory, though there may be code problems on LL's side, this could end up meaning no more full regions, since regions can just hold an unlimited number of avatars. LL may need to tweak things to get this to work. I mean think about something like WOW. You never walk from Durotar to Orgrimmar and get "Sorry, Orgrimmar is full". Even if there is some event and a ton of players are hanging out there.
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Old 09-01-2017, 09:12 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I mean think about something like WOW. You never walk from Durotar to Orgrimmar and get "Sorry, Orgrimmar is full".
I don't know a thing about WOW but this page says Orgrimmar is located in the Northernmost part of Durotar.

https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/6146815475
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:09 AM   #22 (permalink)
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How does one make Windlight settings? Is there one that features an eclipse of the sun or moon? Is that even possible?

Should this be a different thread?
Environment Editor, found in the World menu. There are three separate ones for Water, Sky and Day presets.

It might be possible to pull off a solar eclipse effect, but I doubt it.

If you want/need more info, then 'perhaps.' \_(ツ)_/
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:19 AM   #23 (permalink)
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In Amazon's virtualized environment, I imagine they could much more easily spin up and halt regions completely based on who is using them. A region that never gets any traffic would cost them nothing and be able to be instantly brought up if for whatever reason, someone TPd there.
That will, as noted above, completely break anything that involves running scripts in unoccupied sims, including servers and virtual pets. But if they don't do that, cloud servers will cost them more than dedicated servers.

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So regions that get traffic spikes, instead of running into "This region is full",could just keep pumping themselves up larger and larger with more CPU and more RAM to handle the increasing load. In theory, though there may be code problems on LL's side, this could end up meaning no more full regions, since regions can just hold an unlimited number of avatars.
I don't see any way to do this without sharding. Even if you manage to come up with a way to migrate a region to a beefier server without serious lag (you'd basically be teleporting all the avatars at the same time, and teleporting is kind of expensive... particularly since Mono) adding CPU and RAM will only work to a point... they would have to come up with a way to cluster servers to use multiple physical servers to manage a single region.
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:25 AM   #24 (permalink)
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That will, as noted above, completely break anything that involves running scripts in unoccupied sims, including servers and virtual pets. But if they don't do that, cloud servers will cost them more than dedicated servers.
I wonder if it could be "fakes".

Nothing says the scripts and pets have to run for X hours, just that they have to have accrued that amount of time. So if no one logs in for 5 hours on a sim, then when it spins up, it could run through 5 hours of activity very quickly, to reach a "current state" that it presents to the user.

Maybe it spins up on it's own every hour or even day depending on what's going on, to keep this process up to date. One hour of a virtual SL pet only needs to happen in real time to a user.
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:47 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I wonder if it could be "fakes".

Nothing says the scripts and pets have to run for X hours, just that they have to have accrued that amount of time. So if no one logs in for 5 hours on a sim, then when it spins up, it could run through 5 hours of activity very quickly, to reach a "current state" that it presents to the user.
I think it would be difficult for Linden Lab to distinguish scripts that are pets from scripts that can just be stopped and started. Having to add a flag to a script to say it needs special treatment would break legacy content. This would also cause problems for virtual life scripts and other scripts that make permanent changes over time.

And it doesn't even begin to address servers.

I still think the best solution would be to sell cheaper cloud based regions without persistent background scripts, for people who don't need them.
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