LL confirms Second Life regions now all on AWS

Logos ©, ™ and ®Linden Lab and Amazon Inc

On Thursday, November 19th, and after several months of very hard work in order to manage things in an orderly and as non-disruptive manner as possible, the last remaining regions on the Agni (the Second Life main grid) were successfully transitioned over to running on Amazon Web Services (AWS), thus placing the entire grid “in the cloud”.

The announcement can first via Twitter, and from April Linden, the Lab’s Systems Engineering Manager, Operations, who announced:

April Linden’s announcement

The Lab actually started transitioning regions several weeks ago, and without fanfare, first moving a number of regions only accessible to Linden personnel, and they carefully widening things to include selected public regions on the Mainland, and  – subject to the estate owners initially keeping quiet as well – private regions that experience assorted loads.

These initial transitions were more about testing certain aspects of simulator operations, rather than marking the outright start of any region migration process; the Lab wanted to gather data on simulator / region performance on AWS and investigate how simulators with a wide mix of avatar  / content loads behaved.

However, these initial moves quickly gave April and her team, the QA team under Mazidox Linden  and the simulator development team, the confidence to start broadening the “uplift” process further, extending things first to the simulator release candidate deployment channels (RC channels) and then, in the last couple of weeks, the bulk of the regions as they sit on the SLS “Main” channel.

While there have been hiccups along the way – most notably with teleport problems and group chat / IM failures,together with some performance degradation in other areas – on the whole, the entire transition of the grid has been remarkably smooth and problem-free.

However, this does not mean all of the work is over: as LL would only be quick to point out themselves, there are still a number of back-end systems to transition to AWS, and after that, there will inevitably be a period of “bedding in” everything to get things running, before work can start on the “fine tuning” of all the various services. (there are also some regions still running in the Lab’s co-location facility in Arizona to help  people with workarounds for specific issues, but these are perhaps just a handful, including a couple of  public regions – Debug1 and Debug2.)

Soft Linden on the AWS transition

Nevertheless, this is a huge achievement, and marks a hugely significant milestone in what has thus far been around a 3-year project to get all of Second Life safely transitioned over to AWS, so congratulations to all of those at the Lab who have been working very hard to make this happen, and without causing widespread upset or issues.

Lab introduces Second Life public events calendar

Earlier in November, a little discussion round robin kicked-off on the subject of helping to keep SL users informed of events. It was kicked off by John Westra, after I posted an article  concerning the (then upcoming) Lab Gab session with Oz and Mazidox Linden discussing the Cloud Uplift project, who tweeted:

His voice was amplified by J.M. Hardin, who in turned tweeted a request for some form  of calendar functionality users could turn to to help stay abreast of what’s going on within Second Life:

J.M. Hardin’s response

I thought this was an excellent idea, so thought I’d add my voice to the call – which someone at Linden Lab (/me waves to Strawberry / Tara) – appeared to like:

My own thoughts on the calendar idea, as “liked” by the official Second Life Twitter account

Roll forward a couple of weeks, and it is revealed that not only was the discussion read and liked, it prompted so action as well, as on Thursday, November 19th, Linden Lab announced the launch of the Second Life public calendar  – not that no log-in is required to view the calendar, just click the link and then bookmark the page.

The calendar is already packed within a range of events  – including things like the weekly / monthly user group meetings – with each item neatly annotated with further information: just click on an item to expand it (see below). In addition, the blog post includes an ICAL feed link you can use to add the SL calendar to you personal calendar, and you can of course select individual events and add them individually to your own calendar, marked this as a very flexible response to the requests.

The SL public calendar provides a list of all official SL events that are occurring in-world, complete with details and the ability to add events to your own calendar (arrowed in red), or you can use an ICAL feed link to add the entire calendar to your own.

So, thanks to John and J.M. for the idea – and thank you, Linden Lab (particularly the folks on the Marketing team) for following-up on the idea and implementing it.