Server Deployments Week 14 – Recap
As always, please refer to the server deployment thread in the forums for the latest information and updates.
- There was no deployment to the Main SLS channel on Tuesday, March 31st, due to the inventory issues arising from the week #13 RC deployment – see my update here for details.
- On Wednesday, April 1st, all three RCs received the same update to the current server maintenance package to fix the issues with Trash failing to purge in non-AIS v3 viewers (see BUG-8877. and my coverage of the recent issues here). Those suffering from inventory fetch failures on RC regions are advised to re-enable HTTP Inventory in their viewers, if disabled (found under the Develop menu).
Wednesday, April 1st saw the release of the Project BigBird viewer (yes, seriously!), version 188.8.131.520377, which contains the various fixes for attachment issues which the Vir Linden has been working on. Specific fixes offered are listed as (note the MAINT designations are for the Lab’s internal JIRA, and thus non-viewable):
- HUDs and attachments intermittently and randomly detach after teleports, sometimes reattaching on their own shortly after, sometimes staying detached completely, or showing as “worn on Invalid Attachment Point” while still detached
- [Attachment-RC] When using “Add” or “Attach to” to attach multiple attachments at the same time, some attachments fall off and some get attached to the wrong attachment point
- Attaching multiple objects generates multiple bake requests
- Removing multiple attachments generates redundant detach requests
- Attempting to wear an outfit with more than 40 attachments will fail
UDP Paths: HTTP Inventory, Textures and More
As noted at the top of this report, the week #13 RC deployments have been causing some inventory-related issues, one of which – the Trash purging problem – has been fixed with this week’s RC RC deployment.
The second issue – failures in inventory fetching following clearing cache on RCs regions – has been caused by a combination of the Lab deprecating the UDP message path for inventory updates and users having the HTTP Inventory option in the viewer (found under the Develop menu –
CTRL-ALT-Q) disabled (unchecked).
Given this path has been deprecated, it is essential you keep HTTP Inventory enabled (the Lab will be removing the option from the Develop menu in the future to prevent it being unwittingly disabled).
Speaking at the Server Beta Meeting on Thursday, April 2nd, Oz Linden indicated that the Lab would be taking steps in the future to deprecate UDP messaging is “high on the list” for being deprecated in the future, given that textures have now moved to the CDN.
The CDN and Switching Further Services
While discussing the issue of UDP messaging, Oz again re-iterated the desire to pivot things like fetching animations and sounds away from UDP and onto HTTP, with the aim of provisioning them through the CDN, further lifting the load the simulators currently carry. However, he caveated this with two important points:
- While this is something he’d like to see done, and is in the plans for SL’s future, the work hasn’t actually be scheduled yet, must less started; therefore it is not something that will be happening in the short-term (or perhaps even the medium term)
- The Lab is working on a further round of CDN improvements – again, no time scale is available for their implementation – but there won’t be any additions to the data delivered via the CDN until after such improvements have been deployed.
One aspect here is that, in terms of the simulator load and in terms of the vast majority of users, the switch-over to avatar, mesh and texture data to CDN-based services has been a success for the Lab. However, as we’ve also seen, it has resulted in issues for some users, up to and including what is a degraded service due to the actions of at least one ISP. While the latter is not something the Lab or their CDN provider can directly tackle, it does point to the fact that while off-loading the heavy lifting from the Lab’s servers can make for improvements, it can affect users in other ways.
Hence why the Lab is being cautious in approach, and is continuing to work with its CDN providers to try to improve the service as far as can be done, in the hope of reducing the number of ways in which users might find SL a poorer experience as a result of the CDN implementation. However, exactly what can be achieved and issues mitigated, remains to be seen.
In the meantime, as as per part 1 of this week’s update, if you do feel mesh and texture rendering isn’t what it once was, try following Monty Linden’s interim ideas for easing things.