Buying Server Hosting For Opensimulator is a complex decision with many factors. However, the primary considerations are direct price, performance, and running costs like any other server order. Opensimulator typically has two key areas to consider for server hosting. The first is for the Robust Services, and the second is Simulator services. These two service areas have very different requirements.
Robust services in Opensimulator deal with a considerable amount of tasks; however, the most obvious are login events and asset handling.
Assets will quickly consume vast amounts of storage space (especially with hyper grid access). A vast amount of content is free. Consequently, some users collect content for the sake of collecting. Even a new small grid can have 100’s of gigabytes of assets in less than six months. Unless a user is ready to upgrade and move Robust Services between servers, this needs thinking about from the start. Many hosting companies offer reduced rates for more extended rental periods. Therefore it is worth ensuring that a server will be sufficient for at least the minimum rental period.
Robust Services access the central database and transfer assets almost constantly. Therefore, in addition to needing vast amounts of storage, it also requires a fast drive and high bandwidth available. This is where cutting back is least advisable. Robust services are at the heart of an Opensimulator Grid. If the Robust server slows down, everything slows down.
Differently from bandwidth and disc speed, CPU performance is less critical. For example, the image below is from a Robust Server that has 500 registered users, 600Gb of assets and typically consumes an almost constant 1Gbs of bandwidth.
Simulator services need fast processors. This is especially true for users that wish to run scripts that rely on timing, race vehicles, use regions for combat or interactive movement. In addition, threading support in Opensimulator is not ideal in some areas. For example, some services share threads in unexpected ways. These limitations come from Opensimulator evolving from offing private grid services into a primarily hypergrid enabled service.
The image below is taken from a Simulator server with forty simulators running. However, only twenty of them have active regions. The peek memory use is typically around 26GB during Oar backups. Each of the Regions on the server has an average of 50’000 primitives. Memory use is directly linked to the number of regions on a server and the content on those regions.
Disc space is another vital factor to consider when purchasing hosting. The server in the example below is using 490Gb of data. The vast majority of this is a cache of some description.
VPS(Virtual Private Server) vs Dedicated
Opensimulator will run on a VPS; however, some areas do not perform well when time-slicing becomes a factor. How noticeable this will be, depends mainly on user activity inside the virtual world. For example, it may make little difference if the avatars do not move around much and there are no running scripts that rely on timing. The same is true of dedicated servers with slower CPU core speed. Alternatively, if the opposite is true, it will become clearly noticeable.
Price is typically the reason for choosing a VPS over a dedicated server. However, with the specifications, Opensimulator frequently needs VPS are not always the cheaper option.
Which Host is Best? – Buying Server Hosting For Opensimulator
Hosting choices are very personal and circumstantial; the following comments are based on personal experience running the Fire And Ice Opensimulator grid over the last two years. Even when discounting the fact they are VPS rather than dedicated, the two biggest names (Amazon and Azure) are substantially more expensive than running a dedicated server with the specification needs.
Most of the other budget offerings for dedicated servers do not have the disc capacity or bandwidth requirements. An example of this is “So You Start”. While the processor and memory offerings are adequate, the disc capacity and bandwidth are not.
OVH and Digital Ocean are the two hosting companies that offer a combination of competitive prices and a wide choice of suitable configurations. Contabo offers exceptionally cheap VPS servers. The Fire and Ice Opensimulator grid use various formats, from OVH for their primary services. Additionally, multiple arrangements from Contabo VPS for testing and auxiliary services. Whichever company best fits the Grid’s needs, it makes sense to tailor each server to its primary purpose.
Long Term Recommendation
OVH, from personal experience, is easy to recommend. The performance figures they advertise are exceeded in every test done at Fire And Ice. Additionally, in the rare times a problem existed, it was detected and fixed before it was humanly possible to fill out a support ticket. Other Opensimulator grid owners have expressed similar positive views about OVH and the Digital Ocean.
Therefore, when deciding on a configuration, it is probably safe to assume the Infra2 OVH server is suitable for Robust services. An excellent choice to maintain high-performance with 40 regions is the OVH Advance 2 server configured with a 1TB NVME drive and 64Gb of RAM when looking for a region server.
Like most hosting companies at this level, OVH offers additional backup storage, which is only accessible from that specific server. Additionally, a later article uses the OVH FTP store as part of a backup example.
FTP Backup With OVH
After ordering a new server through OVH, they offer an admin interface. This includes many things, but the FTP backup is not enabled by default.
Choose to enable the backup. After the work is done, OVH will send details of the server, login and password.
Keep a record of these details; they will be necessary for a later article describing the backup process.