Entitled CDN Unleashed, the post specifically examines the percentage of simulator servers experiencing high load conditions (and therefore potentially a drop in performance) on the (presumably) BlueSteel RC both before and after deployment of the CDN service to that channel – and the difference even caught the Lab off-guard.
While a drop in load had been expected prior to the deployment, no-one at the Lab had apparently expected it to be so dramatic that it almost vanishes. Such were the figures that, as the blog post notes, at first those looking at them thought there was something wrong, spending two days investigating and checking and trying to figure out where the error in data came from – only it wasn’t an error; the loads really have been dramatically reduced.
Elsewhere, the blog post notes:
Second Life was originally designed for nearly all data and Viewer interactions to go through the Simulator server. That is, the Viewer would talk almost exclusively to the specific server hosting the region the Resident was in. This architecture had the advantage of giving a single point of control for any session. It also had the disadvantage of making it difficult to address region resource problems or otherwise scale out busy areas.
Over the years we’ve implemented techniques to get around these problems, but one pain point proved difficult to fix: asset delivery, specifically textures and meshes. Recently we implemented the ability to move texture and mesh traffic off the simulator server onto a Content Delivery Network (CDN), dramatically improving download times for Residents while significantly reducing the load on busy servers.
Download times for textures and meshes have been reduced by more than 50% on average, but outside of North America those the improvements are even more dramatic.
Quite how dramatic for those outside North America isn’t clear, quite possibly because the Lab is still gathering data and monitoring things. However, the post does go on to note that in combination with the HTTP pipelining updates now available in the current release viewer (version 126.96.36.1995700 at the time of writing), the CDN deployment is leading to as much as an 80% reduction in download times for mesh and texture data. Hence why the Lab is keen to see TPVs adopt the HTTP code as soon as their release cycles permit, so that their users can enjoy the additional boost providing the code on top of enjoying the benefits offered by the CDN.
Again, at the time of writing, the following TPVs already have the HTTP pipelining code updates:
- Alchemy version 188.8.131.52077 Beta
- Black Dragon version 184.108.40.206
- Cool VL version v220.127.116.11 and v18.104.22.168 (legacy version)
As per the Performance, Performance, Performance blog post, the Lab want to hear back from users on the improvements. Comments can be left on the Performance Improvements forum thread, where Ebbe and Oz has been responding to questions and misconceptions, and Whirly Fizzle has been providing valuable additional information.