Dreamland offers private mini-grids to OSgrid customers

OSgrid residents who rent their regions from Dreamland Metaverse and who can no longer wait for OSgrid to come back up can have them moved to a private mini-grid, the company announced yesterday. The offer includes a free month of hosting, plus custom asset retrieval.

OSgrid has been down for nearly two months now, and the last update was 11 days ago.

Dierk Brunner

Dierk Brunner

“I am surprised that OSgrid is down for so long already,” Dreamland CEO Dierk Brunner told Hypergrid Business. “It would be helpful to get a time estimation from OSgrid, but unfortunately communications from OSgrid cannot be called good at the moment.”

Brunner said that there will be service credits coming for customers who have had regions on OSgrid and haven’t been able to access them since mid-August.

“I must admit that most of my customers are not affected by the OSgrid downtime,” he added. “Luckily, by far, most use private full OpenSim grids or standalone OpenSim regions.”

Restoring missing assets

One of the problems of moving a region from one grid to another is the question of assets.

If you have a region running on your home computer, attached to OSgrid, you can teleport over to a Linda Kellie freebie mall and pick up some nice furniture for your region. When you bring your freebies back and place them on a region, they’re not necessarily saved to your local computer. Instead, your computer might just store the items’ identification numbers, and let the grid itself store all the object data and textures and scripts, to save itself some work.

When you save an OAR backup, the data is retrieved from the central grid database — but you can’t do that if the central grid is down.

If you try to move the region by attaching it to a new grid, a grid that doesn’t have those items in its database — or stores them under different identification numbers — then your region will have empty spots in it where that furniture and landscaping was supposed to be.

“With an incomplete OAR, with missing assets, you see big differences, such as missing textures, wrong object shapes, and missing scripts,” he said.

The Samsara region on OSgrid is home to one of the oldest freebie stores in OpenSim. (Image courtesy Dreamland Metaverse.)

The Dreamland-hosted  Samsara region on OSgrid is home to one of the oldest freebie stores in OpenSim. (Image courtesy Dreamland Metaverse.)

Luckily, Dreamland was prepared for this situation.

“We have all assets cached locally, because we use special configuration settings,” Brunner explained.

As a result, almost all assets can be recovered so that customers can resume using their regions, he said.

“We did some tests and the recovered region contents of our OSgrid customers looks complete,” he said. “If there are any missing assets at all, there are only marginal differences.”

Unfortunately, there’s nothing Dreamland can do to recover user inventories for those customers who did not make inventory backups — known as IAR files — while OSgrid was still online. Their inventories have to remain in limbo.

“They have to wait till OSgrid is back, to create these IARs,” he said. “Or they need to upload a new avatar look, tools, and so on and start from scratch. But at least their region contents can be recovered and are not lost.”

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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.

  • Frank Corsi

    What is “private mini-grid” and what is the normal cost for such a service?

    • It’s technically a “standalone” configuration meaning that the entire grid is run on a single instance of the OpenSimulator software, without separate centralized services. A mini-grid is usually running a version of the Diva Distro, and is typically four to 16 regions in size, though if the server is powerful enough, you might be able to get more regions.

      The prices for mini-grids tend to be, on average, the same as prices for the individual regions, since mini-grids don’t require an extra server to run the centralized grid services.

      When grids grow beyond this point, they are typically upgraded to full grids, with regions and central grid services (like the map, like user inventories, like messages) on a separate server. Most hosting providers charge roughly the same for central grid services as they do for a standard region.

      At Dreamland, the prices are here — http://www.dreamlandmetaverse.com/en/private-opensim-grids — with $45 for central grid services. Single regions are priced at $30, $45, and $90 depending on the capacity of the region.

      • The benefit of having a minigrid is that you get to be your own grid, on your own upgrade cycle, with your own domain name — but you don’t have to pay extra for the full grid setup.

        Another benefit is that since all the regions are run within a single server, there don’t need to be any region crossings.

        Mini-grids are popular with people who have outgrown their single region, or want to be independent of a grid, but aren’t ready for their own full grid setup just yet.

      • Frank Corsi

        So a mini grid is $45 or $45 + region cost?

        • If your minigrid is one single region, then all it would cost is the price of that region. Which, at Dreamland, starts at, I believe, $30. (I hope the Dreamland folks weigh in here!)

          Other hosting providers charge different rates for their regions. Zetamex doesn’t currently offer minigrids — they used to, though, and might again.

          • hack13

            Zetamex plans too, on Nov 1st get ready for pricing and plans that the new owner and a big merger 🙂

          • Frank Corsi

            Thanks Maria!
            As you said not many are doing the mini-grids, or as I would call it a vGateway

  • dahlia

    You can make an or of your region if it is still running even if grid services are down. Note however, as the article mentions, that some assets may be in the region local cache and will be saved in the oar file while others may not. Often region local caches have expiration times and many assets have likely been deleted from them by now. If you restore a region from such an oar file, you may see a lot of the textures and other assets in the region as they could still be in your viewer cache but if they were missing from the oar file, others will not see them. It may be a good idea to try your restored region out on a fresh viewer installation or after clearing your viewer cache to make sure it appears to other users as it appears to you.

    • Arielle

      If a region hasn’t been run since Osgrid went down and one was to set the FileCacheTimeout=0 in the FlotsamCache.ini file, wouldn’t all the assets it has be retained at the next startup of the region?