AviWorlds moves to self-hosting

AviWorlds, a commercial social grid, will be going down on Wednesday as it switches from managed hosting by Dreamland Metaverse to running its own servers.

Alexsandro Pomposelli

Alexsandro Pomposelli

AviWorlds has outgrown the management tools available from Dreamland Metaverse,  grid owner Alexsandro Pomposelli told Hypergrid Business. 

The Dreamland Metaverse management panel offers some options, including shutting down regions, upload region backup OAR files and saving backups, restarting regions, and other functionality. Other issues, such as changing a region name or adding new regions require a support request.

By moving the management in-house, AviWorlds will be taking care of those issues itself.

“Dreamland Metaverse is great for a startup and mini-grids,” said Pomposelli. “But as my experience grows with administering a commercial grid, I realize more and more that we need more freedom.”

Self-management will also allow AviWorlds to create new functionality for its users, he added.

“We are going to change the website with lots more features, like Second Life,” he said. “And our servers will have more processing power, which is needed due to the traffic in Aviworlds.”

(Image courtesy AviWorlds.)

(Image courtesy AviWorlds.)

Pomposelli said that the move may also result in some cost savings, but that this isn’t the primary motivation.

He added that Dreamland Metaverse has been “very helpful” in this process and will be providing AviWorlds will all the materials they need to make the move to their own servers, including the grid databases and archives.

No ‘lock-in’ philosophy

“It is our philosophy to never lock in customers,” Dreamland Metaverse CEO Dierk Brunner told Hypergrid Business.

He said the company is happy to provide AviWorlds with the datatabases and OAR files needed to migrate the entire grid to new servers.

Dierk Brunner

Dierk Brunner

“They are free to move to another hosting solution or try to OpenSim themselves whenever they like,” he said. “I am happy when our customers have found the best solution for them. For some, a self-hosted OpenSim grid really is the best solution.”

In practice, however, many customers who leave to run their own grids often wind up coming back, he added.

“They need to spend so much time doing things that are included in our service packages,” he said, that any cost savings from switching to self-managed servers quickly evaporate in increased staffing costs. “When users calculate in the time they need to spend for service management, software updates, support cases, and so on, they see how cheap our offer is.”

In addition, letting someone else run the technology leaves the grid management free for more important things, he says.

“They can focus on their community, the grid content, the marketing,” he said.

According to Brunner, Dreamland Metaverse can provide a new grid with everything needed to run a commercial world, including currency, land sales management groups, instant messaging, profiles, and community forums. Setting up a brand new grid typically takes two days, he said.

However, it can take time for customers to specify their exact requirements, such as their security needs, he added.

“That is what most often causes delays,” he said. “But in the end, the customer gets what he really wants.”

Rent-to-own grids

The “rent to own” model — also known as build-operate-transfer — is common in other types of outsourcing projects, such as outsourced call centers. The vendor builds the call center and runs it for the customer while the customer learns the operations. Ownership is transferred whenever the customer is ready.

Some customers decide to bring operations in house for control and security. Others decide that it’s easier and more cost effective to stick with the vendor, since they specialize in that particular service.

In the OpenSim world, Dreamland Metaverse is not alone in being supportive of customers who decide to run their own grids.

3D Hosting is familiar with the process of deliberately setting up a new grid for a customer, knowing that they will eventually leave and run it by themselves.

Melanie Thielker

Melanie Thielker

“Where we set up a grid for a customer using their own servers, we do get a certain feeling of satisfaction and a job well done when they
take flight and can stand on their own,” said OpenSim core developer Melanie Thielker, who is the CEO of 3D Hosting and founder of the Avination grid. “In those cases, the intent was clear from the start so we don’t feel it as a loss.”

Like Dreamland Metaverse, 3D Hosting can provide all the infrastructure needed by a commercial OpenSim grid.

“When a customer decides to let us build and host his infrastructure and later wants to take over the operation themselves that is perfectly fine for us,” said Kai Ludwig, director of TalentRaspel Virtual Worlds Ltd. “It’s not losing a customer but fulfilling a customer’s needs.”

Kai Ludwig

Kai Ludwig

Plus, the relationship doesn’t necessary end when a customer moves to its own servers, Ludwig told Hypergrid Business.

“The customer may come back with some development or consulting requirements,” he said.

However, while vendors can easily hand over the grid databases, and region and inventory backups, there are some management tools that are proprietary.

“Not all features can be migrated to customer-supplied servers,” said Thielker. “Our white-label grid offerings are really not designed as a stepping stone into self management, but as a fully managed no-worries solution.”

Similarly, Dreamland’s easy-to-use management panel is an exclusive feature that the vendor offers to its customers — it doesn’t come with the grid export files. However, customers can opt to rent just the grid management services from Dreamland Metaverse, while hosting individual regions themselves.


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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

19 Responses

  1. sweetkitty4308@yahoo.com' GridHopper says:

    I recall this Aviworlds claiming he was gonna rule the opensim worlds a while back. Reality check ain’t gonna happen, seems the towel was thrown in. Tough game out there running a Grid with a hosting service, Profit margin just don’t exist in opensim . and highly unlikely home based systems pan out.

  2. trrlynn73@gmail.com' Minethere says:

    Ok, good I saw this-)) I had wondered why some things were not working when I went in there the last 2 times. I am guessing this was due to the migration issues.

    So I will wait a week or so to go back in as all the dust settles-))

    btw, you did not mention zetamex.com who also does grid hosting, among other offerings.

    Tim is great with customer service as a recent issue I had showed me clearly…

  3. arpholdings@gmail.com' AviWorlds says:

    Well we are not placing any servers at home. By saying self hosting I mean having full control of our servers.

    Never said I was going to rule anything. I did say community is the way and also CONTENT is even more important.
    One must have the other in order to keep the virtual world’s economy well balanced.
    I guess GridHopper chill out a bit… you are going way over board. 🙂

    • sweetkitty4308@yahoo.com' GridHopper says:

      Need to worry less on Virtual Worlds Economy and get a day job, This is a free Metaverse.

  4. carolniamh@hotmail.com' Njamh says:

    When will the grid work again??

  5. arpholdings@gmail.com' AviWorlds says:

    90% of the trasnfer of data base and all that is done. We are in the finish line now. Stay tuned.

  6. arpholdings@gmail.com' AviWorlds says:

    Due to what we found out this morning I have edited this last post out. It seems that it could work now since we now have a very crucial file for our ASSETS that were not given to us 3 weeks ago. Stay tuned.

  7. arpholdings@gmail.com' AviWorlds says:

    Hello everyone. It turned out that we were missing a huge file ASSET file from the data base contents. DM forgot to send it to us 3 weeks ago. We were trying to load a world without the asset file for our SRAS server.
    Anyway we will be trying again and who knows now it will work.

  8. trrlynn73@gmail.com' Minethere says:

    http://youtu.be/CnNVn5bPUXU is how I think of you Alex-)) I love your Entrepreneurial spirit…

  9. trrlynn73@gmail.com' Minethere says:

    wonderful..can you give us the HG address pls?

  10. arpholdings@gmail.com' AviWorlds says:



    Also we will be doing an oar placement of all the stores one by one later on…not now.
    Unfortunately we could not re use our old data base. So now we have all this work to do.
    In the meantime we encourage everyone to build their regions with our new model attach it yourself.

    Use OMC currency, virwox internation currency.
    I personally thing that this is the way all grids are going to go. Open up and free and yes creators will be able to sell quality items to alot more people than just in SL.

  11. guest@gmail.com' Guest says:

    Any idea where Aviworlds went? Can’t log in, just a google page. Seems Twitter account and FB is gone as well.. Has he pulled the plug?