Tag Archives: Server Releases

SL project updates week 43/1: server, viewer, group chat

Asalia House (November 2013) - blog post

Asalia House (November 2013) – blog post

Server Deployments Week 43

As always, please refer to the server deployment forum thread for the latest news and updates.

Main (SLS) Channel

On Tuesday, October 21st, the Main channel was updated with the server maintenance release previously deployed to the LeTigre and Magnum RCs in week 42. This update includes a crash fix and improves the delivery pipeline for abuse reports.

RC Channels

On Wednesday, October 22nd, the release candidate channels should be updated as follows:

  • BlueSteel and Snack will remain on the CDN project, but should also be updated with the same server maintenance package being deployed to the Main channel
  • LeTigre and Magnum should both be updated to the CDN for texture and mesh fetching.

SL Viewer

On Wednesday, October 15th, the Lab issued a Grid Status update on potential problems accessing external websites using the viewer’s internal browser.  The notice was issued as a result of the Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption (Poodle) vulnerability reported by Google.

At the time the notice was released, the Lab indicated they were working to fix the issue (via the removal of SSL v3.0 support within the viewer’s browser). This work was completed at the end of week 42, and resulted in the release of the Browser Fix RC viewer, version 3.7.18.295539.

On Monday, October 20th, the Browser Fix viewer was promoted to the de facto release viewer.  Further information on it and the POODLE vulnerability can be found in a separate article in this blog.

MAC Yosemite Issues

There have been some mixed results for those Mac users updating to the 10.10 Yosemite version of OS X, which reached a consumer release status on October 16th.

While most of those updating have found it relatively smooth, there has been a report of keyboard shortcuts borking, although there is a workaround should others encounter the same problem – see here.

A potentially more widespread issue people may encounter is that with Yosemite, Apple have apparently reverted to older nVidia drivers (as reported by Cinder Roxley at the Open-source Developer’s meeting on Monday, October 20th). One JIRA on the matter has already been filed (see BUG-7575), although if Apple have chosen to roll back some / all of their default drivers, there’s not a lot the Lab can do about matters. Cinder also reports that Yosemite makes greater use of OpenGL, which she indicates can tax GPUs further.

CDN

Following the scheduled Wednesday deployment, all of the RCs should be using the CDN. This represents around 30% of the total grid, possibly a little more, given the existence of Snack. The BlueSteel deployment does not seem to have resulted in the kind of performance issues experienced during the expansion of Snack to 250 regions, suggesting the latter problems were most probably down to overloading the sim hosts with too many high volume (in terms of avatar numbers) regions. If all goes well in the coming week, it is likely that the Main channel will gain CDN support in week 44.

Group Chat

“Today we also finished an update to the group chat servers,” Simon Linden announced at the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, October 21st. He continued:

Many of you have helped us test that at Thursday’s beta user group, and that’s now on the newest version. Those are back-end servers … when you send something to group chat, it goes from the viewer to the region you’re on, then to the (new) back-end chat servers, and from there it’s distributed to everyone in the group.

While no promises are being made as to the overall improvement – or how visible improvements may be to users, Simon went on to note, “I know [from] looking at the metrics and data we can gather … the systems are running much nicer than before.”

As well as working on the update issues (see my previous group chat updates), the Lab has been brainstorming ideas on how groups might be configured differently. There are a lot of groups that have very heavy chat usage, and others where chat is actively discouraged in favour of outgoing notices; however the latter are handled exactly the same as those where chatting goes on, generating updates as people log-in and out, etc., even though these aren’t actually required. Exactly what might be done is unclear at this time, but it would appear ideas are being put forward and discussed.

 

SL project updates week 42/3: server, HTTP, CDN, issues

No Signal, MIC Imagin@rium, May 2014 - blog post

No Signal, MIC Imagin@rium, May 2014 – blog post

Unless indicated otherwise, the notes below are taken from the Server Beta meeting held on Thursday October 16th, 2014. The transcript is available here, and the support agenda notes here.

Server Deployments Week 42 – Recap

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for updates and the latest information.

  • There was no code promotion to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, October 14th – this follows from there having been no deployments to the primary RC channels in week 41
  • On Wednesday, October 15th, the primary RC channels were updated as follows:
    • Bluesteel received the CDN texture & mesh fetching capabilities – release notes
    •   LeTigre and Magnum both received a new server maintenance package,  which includes a crash fix and improves the delivery pipeline for abuse reports.

SL Viewer

HTTP Pipelining RC

On Wednesday October 15th, the Lab released the HTTP Pipelining RC viewer. Version 3.7.18.295372 brings with it:

  • Pipelined HTTP Operations for Mesh and Texture Fetches: this feature allows the viewer to issue multiple asset fetches on a connection without waiting for responses to earlier requests. This reduces the impact of a user’s physical location on scene loading and generally improves the experience for everyone
  • Inventory Fetch Improvements: Inventory folder and item fetches are getting some of the same treatment that textures and meshes did in previous releases. Initial inventory load should be quicker and more robust for all users.

A blog post from Monty Linden accompanies the release, which provides further information on the HTTP project alongside of the viewer release notes.

A blog post from monty Linden arrived with the Pipelining RC viewer, and explain how the viewer (and CDN) should generate further improvements in texture and mesh fetching operations

A blog post from Monty Linden arrived with the Pipelining RC viewer, and explain how the viewer (and CDN) should generate further improvements in texture and mesh fetching operations

Maintenance RC Viewer Removal

The latest Maintenance RC viewer,  version 3.7.17.294943,  has been withdrawn from the release channel due to significant issues and a range of attachment bugs which affect it (see my week 41 update from the TPV developer meeting, under “AIS v3 Issues”).

CDN

As noted above, use of the CDN service for texture and mesh data was extended to the BlueSteel RC in week 42, and there is some anticipation within LL that it could be deployed to all three of the primary RCs sooner rather than later.

An issue has been noted on some regions running on the Snack RC where people are seeing very slow parcel information updates (e.g. the name of the parcel taking up to a full minute to appear in the status bar, for music stream changes to occur, etc.).

The thinking from the Lab is that these problems are a result of the Snack sim hosts receiving a top-heavy load of regions with high traffic counts, resulting in possible resource contentions with certain data lookups as a result – contentions which may have actually brought the regions down had it not been for the CDN, as Maestro Linden commented:

In the cases I’ve seen so far, the slowness was due to a rapid rate of requests from all the users logged into the regions.  If the sim were serving all the texture and mesh requests as it traditionally would, the regions would have ‘fallen over’ before becoming that populated.

So this would seem to be an unintentional cloud with its own silver(ish) lining (at least the regions didn’t fall over). Nevertheless, the issue isn’t welcome. Given that BlueSteel has a more even distribution of regions across sim hosts (e.g. the servers are not all packed to the gills with high volume traffic regions),  It is hoped that the issue will not exhibit itself there. Checks (either by the Lab or residents or both) are likely to be carried out on busy regions on the RC to see if the problem does raise its head, which might indicate some further investigations might be required.

Assuming all goes well with the BlueSteel deployment, it is thought that CDN support will likely extended to the remaining RCs sooner rather than later. In the meantime, for those interested in seeing how use of the CDN works for them, a list of regions by RC can be obtained via Tyche Shepherd’s Grid Survey website, allowing BlueSteel regions to be easily located. Just click the RC Server Regions button (note the list will require a little cleaning-up, post download).

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SL project updates 42/1: server, viewer, viewer-driven Marketplace

Square Pegs in Round Holes, Kashmir Dreams; Inara Pey, September 2014, on FlickrSquare Pegs in Round Holes, Kashmir Dreams (Flickr) – blog post

Server Deployments Week 42

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for updates and the latest information.

  • There was no code promotion to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, October 14th – this follows from there having been no deployments to the primary RC channels in week 41
  • On Wednesday, October 15th, the primary RC channels should be updated as follows:
    • Bluesteel should receive the CDN texture & mesh fetching capabilities – release notes
    •   LeTigre and Magnum should both receive a new server maintenance package,  which includes a crash fix and improves the delivery pipeline for abuse reports.

SL Viewer

As noted in my report here, Monday October 13th saw the release of the latest version of the Oculus Rift project viewer. Version 3.7.18.295296 includes support for the Oculus DK2.

Viewer-managed Marketplace (VMM)

Baker Linden sports a new look, but keeps the hair, shades and bling  - as al lhamsters should!

Baker Linden sports a new look, but keeps the hair, shades and bling – as all hamsters should!

Baker Linden, who has been carrying out a lot of the back-end work on support of the forthcoming viewer-managed Marketplace, was on-hand that the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday October 14th to talk a little more about the project.

He reconfirmed that the new capabilities, which will allow merchants to carry out a number of Marketplace-specific tasks from within the viewer (create new listings with stock, Associate inventory to an existing listing, remove items from a listing, unlist goods entirely) will commence testing on Aditi in November, together with a new project viewer. This testing is liable to run well into the first quarter of 2015, and will involve both Marketplace merchants and TPV developers.

Various additional safeguards are being built into the updated delivery mechanism, both within the Marketplace web interface (which is the responsibility of one of the Lab’s web developers) and the back-end of things. For example, if someone leaves an item in their shopping cart and either the price for the item changes or it is unlisted in the intervening period prior to them continuing to the checkout, they will receive a notification of the change when they do so.

Baker himself is working to eliminate issues with No Copy items, such as preventing a race condition in which a region restart can be exploited to obtain more than one version of a No Copy item. He also indicated that when a No copy item runs out of stock, the listing for it will no longer be delivered to users’ browsers by the Marketplace (presumably until the merchant “restocks” the item) and the listing may even be deactivated.

He also provided more information on the ability to link more than one items to a Marketplace listing, stating:

For merchants, you will be able to choose which “version” is listed so you can have a special holiday-skinned object, and then simply right-click, say “use this version” and then it will start selling the new holiday version of your object!  When you’re done selling the holiday themed object, just switch back to the original version.

However, a problem here is that some people tend to let items accumulate in their Marketplace shopping cart for a period of time – perhaps a week or so – before proceeding to the checkout. It is therefore possible that if they add a “special” version of an item to their cart and leave it there for a while, the merchant may subsequently swap the listing back to deliver the “normal” version of the item – which the buyer will receive when then do eventually proceed to checkout and pay for the items in their shopping cart, leading to complaints and upset. This is something the Lab hadn’t actively considered, so Baker has taken the issue back to the office where it will be given further thought.

The discussion of the new Marketplace capabilities lead to a number of suggestions being put forward, some of which may be on their way to being filed as JIRA feature requests:

  • The ability to mark stores as favourites in the Marketplace
  • The ability to obtain a demo version of an item directly from the item’s listing page
  • The ability to associate different coloured versions of the same product in a single listing
  • The ability to view an item’s contents like the contents of in-world objects can be inspected.

A request was also made for some kind of in-world meeting to discuss the Marketplace. This is not the first time such a request has been made. However, the last time the Commerce Team directly responded to such requests, it was with a refusal to hold in-world meetings. However, there was a lot going on with the Marketplace at that time, which was causing a lot of angst; it’s fair to say a lot has changed since then. Certainly, with an extended period of testing for the new viewer-driven capabilities about to commence, which will involve both merchants and TPV developers, it would seem that putting a mechanism in place by which the Lab, merchants and developers can discuss things would benefit the project tremendously.

SL project updates 41/2: server, HTTP, Group Chat

Pigeon Island, Neverending; Inara Pey, June 2014, on FlickrPigeon Island, Neverending (Flickr) – blog post

The following notes are taken from the Server Beta meeting held on Thursday October 9th, 2014. The transcript is available here, and the support agenda notes here.

Server Deployments Week 41 – Recap

  • Server deployment thread
  • The Main (SLS) channel and the Snack RC received the same server maintenance package as had been deployed to the three primary RCs in week 40,which fixes a bug related to viewing parcel details in gaming regions
  • There was no deployment to any of the primary RC channels (LeTigre, BlueSteel and Magnum).

CDN and the Snack RC

There are now some 270 regions on the Snack RC and which use the CDN for texture and mesh data fetching. The majority of these are mainland regions, although there is still no public list of all of them. Those who would like their region added to Snack are asked to contact the Lab at cdn-test@lindenlab.com.

If you’re using a TPV that can display region details in a dialogue box following a region crossing, you can use it to identify regions using the CDN, or you can check the About Land floater for the region you’re in. In both cases look for “Second Life RC Snack” in the region’s descriptive text. If you see it, the region is using the CDN.

Group Chat

Simon Linden’s work to both reduce the volume of additional group chat information messages (people joining leaving group chat sessions, updates to the group members list as people log-in or out of SL), and the frequency with which they are sent appears to have satisfied the Lab that they will produce some measure of improvement. There has already been a deployment of the updates to some of the back-end chat servers, and according to Maestro Linden, it is anticipated they should be on all of the chat servers some time in the next week. There may be more to add to this following the TPV Developer meeting.

HTTP Pipelining

Monty Linden: HTTP guru

Monty Linden: HTTP guru

The new HTTP pipelining viewer (referred to by the Lab’s QA team as the “weaponized” viewer, it is apparently so slick), is due to hit RC status. “Project Drano”, as Monty Linden, who has been spearheading the HTTP work over the last 2+ years, jokingly calls it, offers both improvements of its own and should further assist in data downloads via the CDN. Commenting on the viewer, Monty said:

The next viewer adds HTTP pipelining support to mesh and texture fetches. This allows multiple asset requests to be issued without waiting for intervening responses from the server, and it goes very far towards making client-to-server ping time irrelevant in throughput metrics. It’s a huge step on its own making our services perform as well as they can. Combined with CDN it’s even better. I won’t mention specific numbers but a region can show up in a very few seconds … Right now, we plan on skipping the project viewer stage. We’re going out the door [as an RC] once it passes QA (maestro heading that up).

Mesh fetching via the CDN should see an improvement because the viewer-side throttle of 100 meshes/second has been removed (this won’t affect non-CDN regions, as the throttle is also applied server-side on those).

As well as the core HTTP work, Monty has also done some work on inventory fetching within this viewer, particularly the code which is used to initially populate the inventory floater. This has been converted to use HTTP, and reduces the number of connections it uses. Again, no precise figures were given, but it should lead to improvements in inventory loading in situations where inventory data has been removed from cache (see the Firestorm wiki for information on removing inventory data files from cache). In one test with no inventory data, Monty saw a 100K inventory load around 10 times faster with the new viewer.

Whirly Fizzle (based in the UK) carried out inventory load tests for an 105K inventory between what was at the time the SL release viewer and a pre-release version of the HTTP pipelining viewer, both starting from a clear cache, and achieved some impressive results:

  • Second Life 3.7.16 (294015) Sep 10 2014 11:08:26 (Second Life Release)
    • Session 1: 16 mins 28 secs
    • Session 2: 17 mins 53 secs
    • Session 3: 17 mins 18 secs
    • Session 4: 17 mins 51 secs
  • Second Life 3.7.17 (294571) Sep 26 2014 12:32:36 (HTTP pipelining viewer)
    • Session 1: 2 mins 29 secs
    • Session 2: 2 mins 17 secs
    • Session 3: 2 mins 11 secs
    • Session 4: 2 mins 27 secs

I tend to have a very organised inventory, old / no longer used items are boxed, and anything not used in 6 months is similarly boxed (see: zdrop). Thus I only have an “active” inventory of around 10K (9,140 items at the moment), out of a total of around 70-100K. However, even with a “small” inventory like that, and working with a cleared cache, my results were impressive. The latest project version of the HTTP pipelining viewer (3.7.18.295146) averaged 9-10 seconds for inventory to download compared with an average of 2 minutes 50 seconds to 3 minutes for the current release viewer (3.7.17.294959).

Again, overall mileage on inventory downloads will vary, hence why Monty is hesitant to mention figures. However, it is thought that those with excessively “flat” inventories should see particular benefit (although they’d also be better off nesting their inventory into groups of folders).