ZetaWorlds Technology


CDN

Content delivery network, or in short CDN, is a method to cache data across the internet closer to the geographical locations to those requesting said data. While this works well for most static things like images in a website to deploy this within OpenSim is a relatively new concept. We designed the CDN integration around the biggest drain on performance for asset delivery on the grid. This boils down to two areas, objects and inventory. Inventory is especially important upon login, as the entire inventory, if not cached locally, needs to be made available to the user as fast as possible. No one likes waiting, especially not if it concerns parts of your own self. Objects on regions are another great cause of concern. Walking into invisible walls or falling into a random hole is never fun so regions need to present their content to users quickly. For both those systems a CDN can provide locally cached data to a user much faster. The combination of geographical proxmiity and caching provides better and better experiences the more frequently it is used. This allows even large regions and users with years of content under their belt to use the grid efficiently.

PHPSAS

To further increase the performance of asset delivery we have elected not to use the default asset server that is included in OpenSimulator. Instead opting to deliver assets via a file-based system through a simple PHP script. The reduced complexity means performance is doubled and deduplication is improved. This asset server is also capable of providing assets concurrently using the webserver it is written for as load balancer. When many requests hit this system, it simply spawns more load balancers. With this flexibility the system is almost maintenance-free and can scale easily to the requirements of the grid as it grows. Compared to similar file-based asset delivery systems present in OpenSim the performance of PHPSAS is far superior as it is a much simpler setup written for an environment designed for fast content delivery. Using this design principal each request for an asset can be handled almost twice as quickly, which means waiting for assets to load no longer equates to an early coffee break.

Load Balanced Grid Service

While the actual regions are the biggest point of contact for most of the load leveraged by residents on a grid, there is still the grid services centralizing all the resident data that have to handle numerous tasks. From updating your profile, group, moving inventory and making friends, all of this data has to by synchronized and maintained regularly. For this exist the centralized grid services, often referred to also as Robusts. In order to prevent this system from locking up due to being overloaded we have been splitting the individual parts of it into their own separate instances. Running multiple of these behind a proxy to balance the incoming requests among the instances reduces lockup conditions that cause delays. This approach allows for greater utilization of the hardware the grid is run on and shows directly which parts of the entire system are under the most load, thus requiring additional instances to further increase performance. Unique to this approach is using the proxy to pass the requests internally, which eliminates the need for complex configuration of various ports for each service.

Gloebit

Commerce is a big part of any creative community and as such we are proud to be the launch customer of Gloebit. Gloebit is a money service provider for OpenSim that makes it very easy to purchase things not just locally, but across the metaverse. They provide a simple user interface for buying Gloebits, the currency, and spending them wherever you wish. It also provides the ability to pay for land rentals, access passes and more. The system is more solid than others and backed by dedicated developers. The systems core is external and hardened, so your investments are safe and secure. With a much more robust exchange comes greater security and stability for retrieving your earnings, which affords the piece of mind that your hard work is rewarded. A bright future awaits for commerce in OpenSim and Gloebit will be the driving force behind it.

ZetaSim

ZetaWorlds, like many other grids out there, runs on the OpenSimulator platform, but to accomodate our unique infrastructure we have had to make some adjustments. These include, but are not limited to, changing the way assets are pushed to users. Normally done directly we have opted to utilize a global CDN to cache assets closer to users geographical locations. This significantly reduces loading times and improves the responsiveness during day-to-day use. ZetaSim also features various improvements to available functions within OpenSimulator as well as brand new functions and configuration abilities not previously exposed. This makes it more suited to provide whatever experience a resident may look for. ZetaSim is constantly evolving and follows the development of OpenSim very closely. Fixes for newly identified problems as well as small enhancements make their way into it fairly regularly and so ZetaWorlds provides the most up-to-date experience of OpenSim.

Clusters

While cloud and containers are all the rage in the IT world these days, they really only add points of failure and resource overheads to applications such as OpenSim. Since OpenSim already depends on various system libraries and the .NET/Mono runtime for operations, adding more fuel to the fire is counterproductive. ZetaWorlds uses large cluster servers to run the individual regions in instanced nodes based on built-in separation methods not requiring additional dependencies or frameworks. As there is no gigantic container wall surrounding each region can share information directly, which reduces the need to duplicate data and makes accessing it a lot easier as well. A reduction in overhead directly correlates to cost-savings we pass on to our customers.

This very site you are reading

Over time the requirements for user-interaction and information delivery grow and things like diva-WIFI or other platforms are no longer able to meet the requirements of users. Because of this, and to better present information and news to our residents, we have built our entire web-presence from scratch with the aim to create features that actually matter. User experience is key, providing information directly and efficiently takes priority. The entire site is built on a common framework so elements become recognizable and familiar throughout. The framework also easily extends to suit new developments and changing needs. As such we make updates every once in a while to ensure stability and security along with new features. Those who rent regions from us will notice the interface directly built into the site which controls region functions. In difference to other systems, that operate a human in between, our system is instant and provides feedback about the executed tasks status. No more waiting for tickets to be answered on common tasks.

Renewable Energy

ZetaWorlds is run on hardware powered by renewable energy in a quest to provide service with as little impact to the environment as possible. There is only one earth and it is on everyone to do their little part in saving it, but as a company we are moreso in the obligation to do something than the individual. Our aim is to provide a service anyone who is conscious about the environment can use without having to worry about their fun causing harm to planet we all live on. We also use excess resources to fight cancer as part of the folding@home project and provide free service to charitable causes and research projects, so unused hardware is not just consuming eletricity for nothing.

Embracing Open Culture

OpenSim is based around the idea of open source software and a certain freedom associated with that. ZetaWorlds has always followed this principal by allowing anyone to connect their own regions to ZetaWorlds. This idea has been one of the core principals the grid has been centered around from day one and we even provide a specialized binary package for those that wish to connect to ZetaWorlds. Said package includes features that ensure the service quality of ZetaWorlds is maintained even on regions not directly run by us. It also offers some of the features of ZetaSim and increased security over the standard OpenSim. With the introduction of different membership levels anyone can setup a large number of regions for themselves and we even provide a pathway for those looking to utilize ZetaWorlds for reselling regions to others.