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Simon Linden

Region Idling coming to Second Life

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well i'll admit i was wrong it being on blue today, and it's not the only le tigre so yeah time for tickets, funny part was i went thru all of my land last night after the announcement came out and it was blue but like i said i was wrong :S

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Why? This is good for everyone except for poorly coded scripts.

If your sim is heavily congested and lagging and the neighboring sims on your server are empty, you're going to be able to take that sims resources (that no one is using except for poorly coded scripts) and help reduce lag on your sim. This is an extremely common thing for servers to do. VPS servers do it, Amazon servers do it, shared hosting services do it, etc. It's extremely commonplace in the real world. If anything, people should be more upset that a load balancing measure like this hasn't been deployed earlier.

I hope this is the first step towards LL moving towards a better load balanced cloud format for simulators. Imagine if sims were set up so that if you had a ton of temp prims, it would take ram from a sim that didn't need it and let you create more temp prims. Imagine a sim capable of holding 300 people because it's taking resources from empty idle sims. It would be glorious and it would really make SL more in line with MMOs which have significantly more than 30 people in an area at once.

Do not sell this move short and as a way for LL to simply lower operating costs. The potential the move in this direction has is massive and if LL goes in the right direction with it, they could revolutionize the grid by lowering tier.

With a properly implimented VPS/cloud style simulator host, they could easily create simulators where you could order the size (256x256m, 64x64m, 512x512m, etc) and the number of prims (500 to 50000) based on the resources allocated to your simulator.

With a VPS host like Linode, you can change from a virtual server with 512MB of ram to one with 20GB of ram in about 10 minutes. There's no reason why LL couldn't get simulators to run on software that worked like Linodes, but instead of ram and HD space you'd change the size and number of prims your simulator supports freely.

Maybe I'm just dreaming, but hopefully someone at LL already has this planned out or someone at LL reads this and thinks it's a good idea. A grid where you start with a 64x64m store with 1000 prims, and expand your sim for more money as your store grows would be revolutionary. You could easily get a sim of that size for $50 a month, and then build into something that costs significantly more.

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Scripting mostly, deliveries to other regions, pathfinding, testing, monitoring. There's potential in this feature but it should be a choice. We pay a flat rate tier fee for our estates.

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There's nothing wrong with LL looking at ways to change their structure, however we pay flat rate tier fees, other means of charging are resource usage based. Horses for courses and I wouldn't mind seeing fees charged for resource usage, if a sim is only going to really be used at weekends then charge the estate owner for weekend usage only.

Taking resources from another sim whilst it's idle sounds good, until that sim is no longer idle, when you want to start your own event, then the other busy sim which is chugging along great, has to give something up.

LL should be looking at cloud based options, but it should come as a choice, most of these resource changes are going to come from standalone estate sims, mainland will generally have people looking at a neighbouring sim, let people choose whether they want their sims in this or not.

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Moon Metty wrote:

 

Will there be a mechanism to arrange sims in a such a way that quiet sims are grouped with crowded sims?

 

 

 

Certainly hope not! Why would a sim owner with a quiet sim, careful choice of scripts etc have to endure the lag his server neighbour makes? Both pay the same and should be getting the same product and the same resources.

Why should lagfest noobclubs be promoted over other types of sims? Number of people visiting is not a measurement of quality.

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Hi Lexbot,

Some time ago, we did a test to see the effect of host-sharing sims on eachother.
Putting a lot of stress on one region didn't have any effect on the other "neighbouring" regions. :)

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If we don't want a region to go into idle mode, will you offer a switch to turn it off? I don't want my horse ranch to go idle, ever. Or will I have to leave a bot in the region to keep it awake?

 

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I'm not so happy with this.

I have breedables which gain love 24/7 to be able to breed.

I have obtained a full region of LL to have breedables as well as do other stuff.

It would be a true devaluation if this becomes true.

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>Taking resources from another sim whilst it's idle sounds good, until that sim is no longer idle, when you want to start your own event, then the other busy sim which is chugging along great, has to give something up.

Pretty much every other server in the world does this. Your iSP does it, web hosts do it. VPS hosts do it, game server hosts do it.

Usually, you are guaranteed a flat level of performance. I have a VPS, and I am guaranteed 512MB of ram and that's what I pay for. I also have a quad core Xeon that I share with 20 people. That is what I pay for.

When the other people on my physical machine are sitting idle, I can then use their RAM and their share of CPU. I pay for 512MB of ram and can get twice that if I need it. I pay to share a CPU with 20 people, but if they don't need it I can use all of it.

This isn't about taking away, it's about giving more.

 

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Flea Yatsenko wrote:

>Taking resources from another sim whilst it's idle sounds good, until that sim is no longer idle, when you want to start your own event, then the other busy sim which is chugging along great, has to give something up.

Pretty much every other server in the world does this. Your iSP does it, web hosts do it. VPS hosts do it, game server hosts do it.

Usually, you are guaranteed a flat level of performance. I have a VPS, and I am guaranteed 512MB of ram and that's what I pay for. I also have a quad core Xeon that I share with 20 people. That is what I pay for.

When the other people on my physical machine are sitting idle, I can then use their RAM and their share of CPU. I pay for 512MB of ram and can get twice that if I need it. I pay to share a CPU with 20 people, but if they don't need it I can use all of it.

This isn't about taking away, it's about giving more.

 

With respect, that doesn't answer what I take to be Ciaran's question (and, if it wasn't, sorry, Ciaran), and certainly crossed my mind.

You said, 


Imagine if sims were set up so that if you had a ton of temp prims, it would take ram from a sim that didn't need it and let you create more temp prims. Imagine a sim capable of holding 300 people because it's taking resources from empty idle sims. It would be glorious and it would really make SL more in line with MMOs which have significantly more than 30 people in an area at once.


Which is all well and good, but what happens to the event attended by 300 people if, half way through, someone tp-s into one of the idling regions from which it's borrowing resources and that region wakes up?   Something has to give, surely

Or do you mean, which the latter part of your post maybe suggests, that you'd be paying for several regions (or mini-regions) that you kept closed and empty, and borrowing capacity from them, rather as you can double prim parcels on an existing region so long as you keep enough of it empty?

 

 

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Innula Zenovka wrote:

 

Which is all well and good, but what happens to the event attended by 300 people if, half way through, someone tp-s into one of the idling regions from which it's borrowing resources and that region wakes up?   Something has to give, surely

 

Yup that was my point Innula, something has to give somewhere when extra resources are called upon.

 

 

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Well, I'm looking ahead beyond simply running a bunch of servers on a single machine. I don't know if you're aware how Amazon cloud works, but basically, the hardware is spread over a bunch of servers, but the software makes it look like it's one machine.

In a situation where a sim could hold 300 avatars, it would be something like 100 indepent servers all on single cloud on a single OS. LL could then balance between hundreds of sims instead of however many they fit on a physical machine.

LL would have to manage hardware so that there woudl be extra headroom, but that's how the other cloud/VPS services work. If 300 users logged into every sim in existence, then yes, LL would have major problems. But, if there were 300 in one sim and 50 in another, and someone logged into an idle one, the freshly un-idle one would then take resources from something else. Ideally, if the system became flooded, sims would have to start giving up what they took from other sims. So, that sim with 300 people would have to give up capacity to whatever sim it took it from if the sim it took it from couldn't find the resources elsewhere to make up for what the 300 AV sim took.

I'm just having fun hoping that's the direction LL goes with their server infrastructure. You couldn't do something like that without region idling, and I am being overly optimistic hoping that some day we can see simulators that can say something along the lines of "60 AVs allowed, burstable up to 150 AVs" or somethig like that. If you have ever used a VPS service you would understand better what I am trying to say. The first time you have a VPS and you see your CPU usage go to 200% when you need it, it's awesome.

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I think people are missing the big picture here. What I see is LL taking unused resources for FPS so it can be reallocated to regions with people on them to help reduce lag if I'm understanding correctly. Generating a frame on an empty region when nobody will see it takes a lot of processing when that processing could be put to better use.

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I've used a virtual world that utilises cloud services, nice idea, but payment is via usage, it's a different billing model to what we have here. There is undoubtedly potential in that direction but it will take a lot of planning and forethought.

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I don't see much if any monetary savings in region idling; the region is still online, only at a reduced fps, it's still occupying server space, still consuming electricity, and it's still available if the owner or anyone else looks at it. I think there will be a positive effect on the performance of the other regions sharing a server when one or more of the regions on the server goes into idling mode. I don't forsee a negative.

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Is this going to affect the scripts in rent boxes.  About two weeks ago all the rent boxes in mainland Mitta went offline and each had to be indiviually reset, along with scripts in stores, which also had to be individually reset.  I do not know what caused the boxes to go offline, but perhaps it was a test of the new region idling.   

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Elwood Abernathy wrote:

Is this going to affect the scripts in rent boxes.  About two weeks ago all the rent boxes in mainland Mitta went offline and each had to be indiviually reset, along with scripts in stores, which also had to be individually reset.  I do not know what caused the boxes to go offline, but perhaps it was a test of the new region idling.   

According to Kelly Linden, in the Second Life ScriptersList, no.

In reply to a question by Void Singer about this, Kelly writes


Timers use real time in the following manner:

When a script gets its turn to run it checks if the timer has expired. If it has then a timer() event is added to the event queue, and the timer is reset. The extra time (from when the timer expired to when the event was added) is subtracted from the next timer run. If there is a timer() event already in the queue or currently running then no new timer() event is added to the queue.

With region idling timers will work as before except their accuracy will be reduced to the lower frame rate and their max rate will be similarly reduced.


and goes on to explain, in a later post,


checks for timers are against system time, as are checks for event delays and function sleeps. These checks are made when it is the script's turn to run, just before the script is run.


What this means, as I understand it, is that scripts running long timers -- like rent boxes -- aren't going to be affected, or shouldn't be.   At worst,  people's rental periods may expire a few fractions of a second late, if the sim is idling at the time, but nothing that anyone's going to notice.

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Region idling was first turned on the BlueSteel RC regions May 16th, then the rest of the grid May 22nd.    So it was off two weeks ago when you saw your problems.

As others explained, I wouldn't expect idling to cause any problems for renter scripts and the way they use timers.

 

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It sounds like this is fundamentally flawed, if islands are loaded on the same servers as mainland regions. It would impact standalone islands a lot more than mainland because there would be no avatars in adjacent regions, yet an island costs $110 more than owning a whole mainland region. We get a lot more tools and flexibility with an island, but that is necessary because they must be managed without any help from Linden Lab. How is it possible to justify any reduced performance for islands under any circumstances?

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It appears that some people are misunderstanding what region idling is. Perhaps a Linden could describe the causes of region lag? FPS takes processing power, which in the past was equally shared among all regions. As a region owner I welcome this plan and that it should reduce server lag. If I happen to have 40 to 50 people on my land it takes a heck of a lot more processing power to maintain peak performance. It makes perfect sense to me that land with a lot of people on it should have priority for their enjoyment over land with nobody on it at the time. FPS in a nutshell is what a person sees and from what I gather is the only thing that this effects. So to adapt an old analogy of the tree dropping in the forest.... If the FPS drops on an empty Sim and nobody is around to see it. Does it make a difference?

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I see no down side to region idling. Well written scripts will run as expected and the region will quickly come back to full speed. I'm making swimming, breedable fish on an RC BlueSteel region and I have seen no problems.

 

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