[RESOURCES] RUNNING OpenSim, Hosted,Home, etc... PLUS
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Author:  WhiteStar Magic [ Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:29 am ]
Post subject:  [RESOURCES] RUNNING OpenSim, Hosted,Home, etc... PLUS

Good Day,

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 hosted
How to choose a good opensim host
And another on OpenSim on OSGrid, a How-To:

MAXPing Article on How-To-Run OpenSim on MAC OSX

The 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.

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.

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/ Canadian Hosts
http://www.tophosts.com/ US Hosts
http://uk.tophosts.com/ UK Hosts

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 You
http://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://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 ).

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

http://www.adrive.com/ Free 50GB Backup Space ONLINE
http://mozy.com/home Free up to 2gb, cheap for more space
http://www.bing.com/search?q=free+online+storage+space A Search with a TON of Online Storage Services

Author:  peavy ibanez [ Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [RESOURCES] RUNNING OpenSim, Hosted,Home, etc... PLUS

a few things that i have noticed

will require less ram than linux, region crossings not so smooth, the regions can run as a system service and recover from a crash, the TD .95

will about 60% more ram than windows, region crossings much much more smooth, can recover from a crash with scripts and cron, td 1.00

there is plenty of good setup guides here for one http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Build_Instructions
if i recall 20 prims is about 1mb of ram.

Author:  WhiteStar Magic [ Thu Jun 11, 2009 3:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [RESOURCES] RUNNING OpenSim, Hosted,Home, etc... PLUS

Something I forgot to mention and so I am posting an addition to address that issue.

Databases and Which one to use:

There has been much discussion on this topic and there is a myriad of reasons, explanations, excuses and what not. So I am just gonna keep this simple.

SqlLite is the DEFAULT Basic Database that is automatically installed. It's purpose is for an operator to get a Simulator Up & Running quickly and smoothly. It works fine for this purpose and causes no issues for this. But it is VERY LIMITED IN CAPABILITY ! Because of the nature of SqlLite is is a simple, NON-MultiUser system and has no actual server as such. There is NO BACKUP MECHANISM and no manager that can be used to interact with the data while it is attached to something like OpenSim. The ONLY WAY TO BACKUP SqlLite DB's is to Shutdown OpenSim and physically copy the Database Files (*.DB) out and restart the OpenSim. It Cannot be shared between instances of OpenSim running on one machine, therefore each instance (copy of) OpenSim running will have it's own Databases.

MySql is the RECOMMENDED Production Level Database which also has all the correct drivers and info already setup in OpenSim. MySql needs to be installed in the Machine that you are working on and it needs to be configured in the OpenSim.ini and additional *.INI files as deployed. This is a Much More Robust and Powerfull Database system and allows for multiple connections and users simulatneously. It can be backed up while in operation and uses very little resources, compared to many other Sql DBMS systems. It is also FREE and OpenSourced and there is a LOT of Support for it in regards to Documentaion, Applications and Tools. If you intend to build anything elaborate, have many users or anything that will resemble a production environment, then MySql is the choice to go with.
Download from Here: http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/mysql/5.1.html
Installation / Conversion Guide: http://chapter-and-metaverse.blogspot.com/2008/11/4-migrating-to-mysql.html Slightly Dated but Still Good.

Other SQL DBMS Systems:
OpenSim supports several and there is work being done to improve and enhance support for other systems. While there is nothing wrong with using another system, most everything else will generally make administration a bit more complex and the support may vary as the versions continue to change in development.

The Bottom Line:
SqlLite to get you up and Running Quickly and connected to StandAlone or Grid.
MySql if you really want to do anything and have a More Reliable & Robust system.
MsSql & Others, they are supported but are not the prefered or recomended DBMS for OpenSim at this time. Possibly will have issues as changes occur.

All Operating Systems Support MySql, SqlLite but other DBMS's may and likely will vary on the Operating System Support.

Author:  legacy_jeeper [ Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [RESOURCES] RUNNING OpenSim, Hosted,Home, etc... PLUS

Great posts. Thanks. You have cleared up a few questions that I had.

Author:  WhiteStar Magic [ Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [RESOURCES] RUNNING OpenSim, Hosted,Home, etc... PLUS


This is a Question that many folks ask and have questions about. Here is some Helpfull info for the OpenSim Admins out there

Editing "RAW" Terrain Files

There is now a Plugin made and available for the free program GIMP by Domino Designs.
See http://dominodesigns.info/project/gimpterrain which is easy to install and allows you to bring in RAW files and edit them.

GIMP is available free and downloadable at http://www.gimp.org/downloads/
GIMP is available for most Operating Systems and Platforms and is User Supported with many features and functions far beyond Terrain Editing.

Tutorial: Creating OpenSim terrain with Blender http://stringofbits.net/2009/09/tutorial-creating-opensim-terrain-with-blender/
http://www.rexxed.com/category/terrain/ SOME FREE / SOME NOT
https://support.secondlife.com/ics/support/default.asp?deptID=4417&task=knowledge&questionID=4509 SL's Default Private Region RAW Files.

Spinmass Virtual Creations, Has Two Products for Terrain Making and Generation which are Free Downloads. Look at Terrain Sculptor & Bailiwick. They are available from http://www.spinmass.com/

Author:  Charlie Borg [ Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [RESOURCES] RUNNING OpenSim, Hosted,Home, etc... PLUS


I am just getting started and have waded through a lot of documentation on the Open Sim site but can not as find how to add new avatar's etc. When I try to edit the appearance the message says you do not have permissions. I note that permissions is not functioning yet but is there a way to add new avatars and other assets? I saw there are some free inventory sites but have not found any instructions.


Author:  Jez Mertel [ Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [RESOURCES] RUNNING OpenSim, Hosted,Home, etc... PLUS

Hi Charlie,
answers to your questions
1a. If you are using v0.7 then this is typed into the ROBUST server if 0.6.9 then typed into the User server: create user
1b. for a list of commands type into the relevant server: help
2. Before you can edit clothing parts or skin or shape you have to create them. This can be done directly in the inventory from the 'Create' menu then right click wear.

Hope this clears things up


Author:  lancelot dulak [ Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [RESOURCES] RUNNING OpenSim, Hosted,Home, etc... PLUS

This is excellent however one quibble needs to be made

Your location is irrelevant. Completely and totally irrelevant.

What matters is ping and packet loss. Your data travels over the internet at the speed of light. Yes... thats correct. The "slowdown" comes from the hardware hops it takes in between. You may live in downtown San diego next to a backbone and need 20 hops to get to microsoft.com. You may live in east latvia and take 4 hops. Location is completely irrelevant.

What is relevant is your ping and thus the hops to a backbone. One way to test this is in the command prompt (or the command line from linux) and Tracert microsoft.com or any Major domain that is going to have its webservers right off the backbone. If you have a Lot of hops (or your server does) this is going to give you higher latency.

However.. if you have a high bandwidth server this is not likely to be an issue for you. Just test your latency and packet loss. If they are low you're fine.

Author:  Greybeard Thinker [ Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [RESOURCES] RUNNING OpenSim, Hosted,Home, etc... PLUS

Charlie Borg {L_WROTE}:

I am just getting started and have waded through a lot of documentation on the Open Sim site but can not as find how to add new avatar's etc. When I try to edit the appearance the message says you do not have permissions. I note that permissions is not functioning yet but is there a way to add new avatars and other assets? I saw there are some free inventory sites but have not found any instructions.


Hi Charlie, a lot depends on just what form and version of OpenSim you are running.
If you are connected to a grid then you would need to make a new account for any new Avatar you wish to use, if you are running your own grid, then the advice from Jez is pertinent, if you are running in standalone mode then simply type [create user] at the console and answer the prompts.

Jez is correct about creating new clothing, skins and shapes etc. Simply right click on your inventory and select create new [item type]. And permissions do function in OpenSim, the fact that you can NOT edit the default Avatar is an example of permissions working correctly.

To add new assets, you can simply drop any free to obtain IAR files into the bin\Library or bin/Library folder of OpenSim and the new assets will be setup on the next startup.

Some IAR files here from core developer Diva Canto

And finally, what the hell are you talking about Lancelot?


Author:  WhiteStar Magic [ Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [RESOURCES] RUNNING OpenSim, Hosted,Home, etc... PLUS

PLEASE UNSTICKY THIS ASAP and Any other Stickied Posting by myself

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