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:
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.)
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.