Zetamex and Dreamland Metaverse are the two leading hosting companies for companies, organizations and individuals running private OpenSim grids.
How they switched
The migration process was very straightforward, Dreamland CEO Dierk Brunner told Hypergrid Business. In this particular case, the grid moved over their region backups in the form of OAR files and the inventory backup IAR files instead of migrating the entire installation as a whole.
“In general, it is possible to take database backups as starting point,” Brunner said. “But database backups may contain inconsistencies that would also get copied to the new grid. That is why we always strongly recommend starting a brand new OpenSim grid and using OAR and IAR backup files to restore the contents.”
In fact, Exo-Life was able to use the control panel that came with their Dreamland service to upload all the OAR and IAR files themselves, he said.
The entire process of setting up a new grid usually takes one or two days, Brunner said — three days maximum.
“Exo-Life did know exactly what they want, what made it easier and faster to install their new OpenSim grid,” he added.
This wasn’t the first time a grid has switched to Dreamland, he said.
“We have had many grid owners switching to our services and it was always a quite easy task, if they had the OAR and IAR backup files,” he said. “In some cases, I had to help my new customers to get the required backup files from their previous hosting provider. In one case I even had to create the OARs and IARs myself, after getting access to the servers, because the previous hosting company lost the only employee who knew how to create such backup files.”
Why they switched
Grid owner Bryan French said there were ten reasons why he decided to switch hosting:
- A scheduled 24-hour outage of services that turned into five days.
- A major change in the console panel requiring different user names and passwords and learning how to use the new console panel.
- Constant changes to the console panel without any word or warning that buttons are going to change to new locations or new drop down menus.
- Assuming grids already know what to do if a change is causing the grid problems even though no instructions are given.
- Automatically upgrading grids to a new version of OpenSim without telling or even asking the grid if it desired such change. Requiring the filing of a ticket to be placed back on the previous version.
- Automatically changing grids physics engine without telling or even asking the grid if it desired such change. Requiring the filing of a ticket to have the physics engine changed back.
- A grid admin has to look at two different status pages and a Twitter page to see if there is a problem with services. Then being chastised if the grid admin neglected to look at one of the three locations and filed a ticket.
- Being told one should have called the toll free number instead of filing a ticket. As if through telepathy a grid admin would know which was appropriate.
- No controls for creating grid money through the grid admin avatar with the Money Module.
- Using vehicles cause the simulator to come to a near halt.
So far, he says, the experience on Dreamland has been an improvement.
“In one week with Dreamland we have only had to file one ticket due to a typo on our console panel,” he told Hypergrid Business. “Grids have a choice to have the OpenSim version updated as they come out or conservative updates where a grid is not updated with new versions.”
The console panel and physics engines work and are not changed unexpected, he added.
“The basic money module has grid admin avatar access and residents can get a readout of their transactions via e-mail,” he said. “Operating vehicles doesn’t cause one blip in simulator performance. Had we had it all over to do we would have chosen Dreamland from the beginning.”
People can visit Exo-Life via hypergrid at hg.exo–life.onl:8032 and check it out for themselves.
Zetamex: We have the best service
Three of the top-rated grids in the most recent Hypergrid Business survey are hosted by Zetamex, pointed out acting CEO Timothy Rogers.
Customers do leave for competing providers, he said, but they almost always come back.
“People don’t realize they are getting the best service till they experience our competition,” he said. “Our customer retention rate is very high.”
And some customers are unhappy no matter what, he added.
“Before we do any updates, we give out notices by email weeks in advance, we let everyone know how long it will take, and what will be changing,” he said. “You can ask any Zetamex customer who provides the best service to their door step, and they will say Zetamex every time. We have better response times than Dreamland, better hardware than Dreamland, and way better tools than Dreamland on our back-end and coming to our front-end over the rest of this month.”
Bottom line: customers win because of the competition
The ability to quickly and easily switch service providers means that OpenSim hosting vendors can’t count on customers staying if service degrades.
Instead, the vendors have to constantly be on their toes, not only providing a high degree of service, but also making sure to keep up with improvements rolled out by the competition.
This is one major feature of OpenSim which doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves. With most other enterprise-focused virtual reality platforms, switching from one vendor to another is almost impossible. Either the vendor offers a proprietary platform, or, if there is an open source version, there aren’t a lot of other vendors supporting it.
Meanwhile, to find out who is really the best OpenSim hosting vendor, stay tuned for our next survey. And if you are a hosting vendor who is not currently listed in our directory, and would like to be listed — and included in the survey — please email me at [email protected].