Pending the cloud migration, LL report limited availability of new regions

On Thursday, May 14th, Linden Lab reported something that may be a little unexpected: they’ve “run out” of land – or more correctly, they are at the maximum capacity of simulator servers they can host within their current co-location facility in Arizona. This means that for the short-term future, there is only limited availability of “new” regions directly from the Lab.

The primary reason for this is, according to LL, an unexpected increase in demand for “new” regions – possibly as a result of the result of former users and increased interest with / involvement in Second Life as a result of the current pandemic situation.

While the Lab could overcome the issue through the purchase of new hardware and previsioning it through a suitable data centre, this would still require a significant amount of expenditure and work. Given that we’re potentially mid-way through the work to migrate all of the Second Life services to AWS / Google cloud infrastructure (with the migration of simulators still to come), this is time, effort and money the Lab would – understandably – avoid, as it would only be for a relatively limited period of time.

With regards to both the cloud migration and this situation, the Lab notes:

As we’ve discussed previously, Second Life is in the process of migrating from our existing dedicated servers to a cloud hosting service. That migration has already moved a number of the most important services and databases, but we are not quite ready to host simulators in the cloud. We have a crack team working on that and are making lots of progress, but there are significant changes needed to make sure that we can provide the performance, stability, and security required. When that process is complete we will have a nearly unlimited region capacity, but until then we are constrained by the size of our existing server fleet.

While our migration project has been underway for some time, even our most optimistic business projections did not anticipate a surge of the magnitude we have seen in recent weeks for additional regions. While we planned for growth driven by improvements to Second Life and other factors, we didn’t expect demand to be created by a global pandemic.

As a result, we are in the unfortunate position of hitting the maximum capacity of our “old” servers until the “new” cloud servers are fully operational.

– Linden Lab, Limited Availability of New Second Life Regions, May 14th, 2020

The availability of new regions directly from the Lab will, for the time being be dependent upon the number of regions returned to them, and is likely to remain so until such time as the cloud uplift work has been completed – which the Lab estimates will be in early autumn 2020.

Note that this situation shouldn’t immediately impact things like parcels currently available for sale / auction on the mainland, or the sale / rental of parcel available on private regions already in-world, although it may come to do so if the demand for land (rather than entire regions, Full or Homestead), runs at a similarly high rate through the next few months. Elsewhere, it is liable to impact on any expansion plans private estates may have, and possibly result in a slow down in any growth of Bellisseria.

You can find out more about options for obtaining land during this shortage of new regions by reading the Lab’s blog post in full. There’s also a forum thread available for those wanting to discuss the matter and hear back from the Lab.

7 thoughts on “Pending the cloud migration, LL report limited availability of new regions

  1. Shame they can’t take some of those multi million dollars they boast about making each year and spend it on some new racks? Or perhaps this is some marketing tactic to get the juices flowing?

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    1. As per the article and the Lab’s blog / forum comments: they *could* make the expenditure, but they’d rather not, as they are in the process of migrating away from dedicated hardware and facilities in favour of AWS / Google / cloud infrastructure. Ergo, investment in new hardware + infrastructure would ultimately wasted – and it would also mean pulling resources away from the cloud uplift in order to facilitate the new facilities / hardware, thus potentially drawing out the uplift even further.

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      1. … exactly! It really doesn’t make a lot of sense to massively invest in ‘old’ technology, when the ‘new’ technology, in this case, will allow LL to create new sims on-demand at the press of a button — literally!

        It’ll be also interesting to speculate if LL will sell sims using AWS/Google/whatever other cloud with different characteristics, such as the number of virtual cores and/or more or less speed & bandwidth, etc., since all cloud operators most certainly make such options available to end-customers. The alternative, of course, is to have everything being shuffled around according to demand (i.e. sims without avatars nor running scripts will simply lay dormant — and LL won’t pay Google/Amazon/Microsoft a single dime while such sims remain empty). It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with.

        One thing is certain: they’ll be prepared for huge demand, indefinitely.

        Now how exactly this will impact the land speculation business is anyone’s guess; but I’ll bet that right now, land speculators are opening their bottles of champagne, the ones that rested way too long in their cellars, awaiting such an opportunity when sims become scarce — even if only for a short while!

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  2. Ha! I knew it… the world is becoming crazier and crazier! Who would have believed in the past five years or so that we would ever see this kind of notice from LL again? 🙂

    We couldn’t be living in more interesting times. Oh, of course, stay safe — but there is a silver lining in every cloud, and having a Second Life ‘crammed full’ again is not a bad thing… actually, it feels like 2007 again.

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      1. We’ll see how they will manage what we currently think of as ‘a sim’ — basically, a (virtual) server with a certain amount of CPU power, memory, etc. But nothing will prevent LL to do something much more dynamic, e.g. allocating virtual cores on-demand, as more and more avatars teleport to a suddenly-popular sim — while, at the same time, leaving all the other now-empty sims ‘dormant’ (except for running scripts, that is). Well, we’ll see… I suppose I could go back to all those transcripts about The Move To The Cloud and see what LL has explained so far about what they have in mind…

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        1. So far, they’ve said nothing definitive, other than transitioning everything “as is” and then spending time seeing how the simulators (and the rest of the services) operation. Beyond that, various suggestions of what LL *might* consider by way of alternative / additional products – virtualised, on-demand (rather than 24/7 up time), etc., but these have only really been talked of in terms of possibilities, without any commitment to trying any particular option or options.

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