By “service disruption”, I mean the inability to successfully log in, remain logged in, or perform the basic functions of SL or an OpenSim world, due to circumstances beyond your control. In other words, Suck Time.
I am no expert at the inner workings of SL, Reaction Grid, or any OpenSim world. But, I am curious (um, nosy?) as to what causes the various glitches and crashes we sometimes experience.
You probably know that a virtual world runs on a ton of complex server software and databases that exists on distant computers in some magical land (typically California, or some place with electricity, lattes, fish tacos, and corporate tax shelters).
The fairy dust that comprises SL/OpenSim worlds, unlike in “regular” games*, is a lot of data and messages streamed almost entirely from the “corporate” end (computers far, far away), and not from your hard drive.
Service Disruptions are generally limited (only a few Regions/Sims misbehaving or kaput), but sometimes several areas or all of SL or the OpenSim world is affected. If the powers that be see (or get enough reports of) problems, they usually post a message (such as on the SL Status page, http://www.secondlife.com/status).
Service Disruptions suck, but fortunately are not as common in SL as they once were. In OpenSim worlds, which are still growing/changing, things can be in a bit more of a flux, but are still generally “stable.” I won’t bore you further except to say that disruptions are caused by problems with one or more of these, which you can read all about if you are interested:
- Asset Storage Cluster
- Central Database Cluster
- Agent (“Inventory”) Database Cluster
- Other Database Clusters
- Transient Data Services
- Login Server Cluster
- Web Site
- Linden Network
SL runs on dedicated servers, while OpenSim worlds may instead run on virtual servers (the latter of which creates opportunities for increased efficiency, but there can be some trade-offs as well).
For the average virtual citizen, all you need to know is this:
When LL or your OpenSim peeps tell you that things are currently funky (um, “we are experiencing issues”), and to NOT make monetary or important transactions… do as they say, or don’t cry when you lose $Lindens or stuff.
Your viewer may give you important status messages before you even log in, so take the time to read any news that is there.
If your viewer won’t connect at all, check the SL Status Page (http://www.secondlife.com/status) or your Reaction Grid or other website for status updates every few hours. Or take a nap. You remember naps, don’t you? Not sleepy? I vaguely remember some things called “books” and “taking a walk outside” and “talking to real humans.” ;p
——* Yes, I know SL is not a “game” in the normal sense. But it’s easier than saying “Interactive Multidimensional Magically Screwy Awesome Virtual Place I Escape To Way Too Often.”