Welcome to OpenSim & the OSGrid forums. Here is some information to help decide on some options for running your own OpenSim regions. It is NOT a complete guide or all inclusive but it's designed to help you consider options and choices and even troubleshoot some of your installation.To other OpenSim Operators, please feel free to contribute any additional relative information that can be of Help.
Mr. Adam Frisby posted a excellent articles recently which discusses many important points regarding memory, traffic and usage related to having your OpenSim hostedHow to choose a good opensim host
And another on OpenSim on OSGrid, a How-To:http://www.adamfrisby.com/blog/2009/08/opensim-on-osgrid-a-howto/
MAXPing Article on How-To-Run OpenSim on MAC OSXhttp://maxping.org/resources/how-to/install/opensim-on-mac-osx---the-easy-way.aspxThe very "QUICK & DIRTY" look at OpenSim Operation:1) CPU Power:
Any decent CPU, Pentium 4 and up will run OpenSim. More Powerful the better BUT be aware that OpenSim does not really work a CPU very much. Rather it should be considered for the "Number of Instances" (how many copies of OpenSim running concurrently) that you want the computer to run AND your Operating System.2) Memory:
The MOST Critical for OpenSim. As Adam discussed in detail in his blog, Memory is the Key to making OpenSim run & be capable of delivering data to the end user (client). I won't expand much more on this other than to say, MORE is BETTER when it comes to RAM.3) Network / Bandwidth:
Equally IMPORTANT as Memory, some would say moreso. A Typical Home DSL connection provides an upload rate to the internet between 512 - 800 kbps. A Typical Home Cable Connection between 512 kbps to 1 Megabit. A Hosting Service can be anywhere from 1 Megabit to 1 Gigabit + (the bigger it is the better but also more $$$). This is How Fast & How Much the Server can send down the line to the end user / client. This is often the choking point on most systems and the number of avatars you can have on your region etc. Again, Adam discussed that in good detail.
** Important Note ** You have to consider the distance from your target audience. For instance, a High End Host in the UK would service everyone in the UK and likely the EU without any real degradation, but for it to deliver data to North America, China, New Zealand, it has to travel a number of routes to get that data to the end user, the more hops it has to make the more it will degrade the speed and reliability. Consider your Target Audience and where they are located for the most part and try to get hosted closer to them. Less Hops/Distance = Faster & More Reliable Delivery of Data.4) Storage / Hard Disk Space:
This really varies. IF you are running your own grid, the Databases will grow very quickly and you will have to determine that for yourself as you are storing ALL of the content.
IF you are attached to a working Grid such as OSGrid then "your" databases will grow but the main assets are stored on the Grids Main Asset Server. What you will see stored on your system is the materials that are physically located on your region(s). A Typical 300 gig Hard Disk will most certainly hold everything for quite some time. Just keep an eye on it as you start to build and expand.5) Video/Graphics:
Server Functions are TEXT BASED, so if you are just running a server and no viewers etc.... There is NO NEED for Heavy Duty Graphics or any extras to run OpenSim Server.
It is, simply put a "Delivery System". How to Find Hosting Services ?
There are a LOT of hosting providers and it's a veritable jungle out there. The terminology is also quite confusing. I can't address all of them because I think it would be much too involved. Some Quick terms to get used to:VPS = "Virtual Private Server"
One Computer which is Shared with other VPS Users. Performance & Resources are all split between everyone that uses this system.Dedicated = "Dedicated Server"
One Computer & One System. You get all access to the resources and services on that machine. It's yours!Co-Located Server = "Your own purchased machine at a Hosting Service Provider"
, you get the benefit of having your personal system in their facility, their internet access, backup power etc.Managed = The Hosting Provider Manages the system
, usually means, they will reboot it if it locks up, change backup media on a schedule etc.... Depending on packages they may upgrade the Operating system etc... but it costs $Un-Managed = The Hosting provider does nothing !
"As Is, Whereis" This Applies to VPS, Dedicated, Co-Located etc.... The Provider does nothing and are not responsible for the stuff on that particular system (depending on the application above) for instance they will maintain their own hardware, such as replace a hard disk on their VPS server but they are not responsible for your data.
There are many options and variations but these are the essential ones to consider.Windows or Linux ?
Well, Both Have Pro's & Cons, is one better than the other ? Much debate and argument over that issue but it really boils down to YOU, the Operator.
- OpenSim is written to use .NET Framework (Microsoft Windows Platform) natively.
- Linux can run .NET Applications under MONO.
- OpenSim can be run on a 32 bit or 64 bit operating system. A 32 Bit OS has a physical limit of only being able to address 3 Gigabytes of RAM while a 64 Bit Operating System can address all available ram, depending on Motherboard Capacity. 64 Bit is Ideal if you want to run multiple Virtual Systems on one computer and allocated shared resources between all the virtual machines.
- Windows & Linux are both capable of running in 64 Bit mode (with the appropriate version/extensions installed) and running multiple Virtual Machines.
Windows is virtually "Plug & Play" because OpenSim is native to it. You can install the OpenSim Binaries or Compile your own from Trunk and away you go after configuring the system. Windows Supports the Different Databases (default is SqlLite for OpenSim) but MySql is the Most Recommended for ongoing operation
. Hosting Services will charge more for Windows Systems because Microsoft charges them Monthly for use in a Hosting environment, therefore you pay the extra for that "premium" the provider has to absorb. This can Easily add between $10.00 to $30.00 per month to the ongoing costs
The Windows File System is somewhat "loose" and subject to file fragmentation, therefore if you are running a grid and storing ALL data things get "dirty" after a while but if you are attached to a Grid with it's own Asset Servers, file fragmentation is fairly low.Linux:
Note, I am not a Linux Guy! Most Linux is Free & opensourced depending on versions. It is robust and powerful and has a lot of advantages. It is not "Plug & Play" like windows and requires you to have some technical experience with running it. With MONO installed, it can run .NET Framework Applications very well and it can be tuned for better performance than Windows can. It supports all the Databases and will do everything you need it to do. It does require more attention for installation and you have to be familiar with many more commands and command-line functions. There is a HUGE Library of Applications, Tools & Toys available and almost all are free to get and use on your Linux System, unlike Windows Based systems. Management of OpenSim on Linux is a little more complicated but the tuning is where the real payoff is. Most Hosting Services use Linux as their Platforms and that saves you $$$ because there are no "usage fees" for using Linux.
BOTTOM LINE ! It Depends on You the Operator and your budget to run OpenSim and how much time you want to invest in making it run and how you want to run it.HOSTING PROVIDERS
Again, Adam Frisby provided some excellent resources for some notable Hosting Providers. http://cari.net/
as noted in Adams Blog Post, is offering a special deal for OSGrid Members and they are TOP NOTCH.
Other Hosting Providers are as varied as anything else. Here are a Few Links to help you in your search:http://ca.tophosts.com/
There are FAR More Search Systems and review facilities for Hosting Systems but these should get you started and there is a lot of great info on there to read and some pretty darn good deals to be had as well.Home Versus Hosted ?
There is nothing wrong with hosting a system at your home, many in OSGrid do so without issues. But (and there is the big BUT) As you likely saw right at the top in the "Quick & Dirty" section of this post, Item #3, Network Bandwidth is the big issue. If you want people to come to your region(s) and have a "pleasant" experience, it is essential to be able to deliver the data to them quickly and efficiently. Most ISP's don't give you the bandwidth to do that effectively, 1 to 5 users can be managed but the degradation will be noticed VERY Quickly. Also add a Heavy Environment with a lot of prims and textures and it will reach crawl speed in no time and make for a lousy experience. Most people who host at home are building things and doing things for their own enjoyment or with plans to move beyond when they reach that point. You can certainly have a friend or two visit and it would be reasonable but if you push it, no one will like it, including you ! Another Factor too, is that most ISP's do not like someone hosting a server in their homes and they will do an assortment of things to prevent that such as blocking IP:Ports, re-routing, and some will even terminate your service. Most home systems also use DHCP for the TCP/IP address so it changes at random and frequently, so there are services to help you deal with that, posted in the next section. You should consider Home Based Servers as Prebuild / Experimental systems and not for any type of production use.Tools and Things to Help Youhttp://www.famkruithof.net/uuid/uuidgen
Generate UUID's to Create your regions. Every Region must have a unique UUID.http://www.dyndns.com/
Create your OWN Domain Name and have it synchronize with your IP address automatically. ( Home Users!!! )http://www.canyouseeme.org/
get your IP Address and check a single Port to see if it is blocked or open.http://www.t1shopper.com/tools/port-scanner/
Bigger / Better Port Scanning to check a wide array of ports and details on your connection.http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Firewall_Configuration
Good Info on configuring your Router / Firewalls to open ports etc... needed. Yes it's SL WIKI but the info is good!http://chapter-and-metaverse.blogspot.com/2008/11/4-migrating-to-mysql.html
Your Setup and want to use MySql instead of SqlLite ! Here is a quick tutorial for that and other good tutorials too.Free Terrain Files
to get your Regions looking better than the "Standard Pimple Island"http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Free_Terrainshttp://www.pioneerx-estates.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=category§ionid=1&id=9&Itemid=54http://www.terminal26.de/terrains/index.php?lg=eng
Some Good Terrains (need a little conversion to work with OpenSim)
Terrain Images are an interesting issue. They must be 256x256 to be read properly and used by OpenSim. You can use any image IF you want to but there are caveats. There is an Excellent tool which will rescale and cut images perfectly for the purposes of Terrains. Here is the Link: http://www.imagemagick.org/script/index.php
This is available for Linux & Windows and read the docs, you'll be all set to cut up images / textures for the terrain files on your new region( s ).On a FINAL NOTE !!!
BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP your data. Never trust "The Machine" or any system at all. There are Online Backup Services that store data for free to small expenses. If you are Hosted Make copies of your OARS and Other important data and store it locally And / Or on a backup service. Always backup your data & material. OpenSim changes a lot and before applying ANY changes or Updates BACKUP what you have. Do Not Trust Any Hosting Provider, VPS or YOUR OWN SYSTEM, Things fail and Things go bad.HOW-TO: Backup & Restore OpenSim Server! BACKUP FACILITIES !http://www.adrive.com/
Free 50GB Backup Space ONLINEhttp://mozy.com/home
Free up to 2gb, cheap for more spacehttp://www.bing.com/search?q=free+online+storage+space
A Search with a TON of Online Storage Services