New hosting provider CloudServe offers $8 regions

A new hosting provider, CloudServe, is offering cloud-based OpenSim regions starting at $7.95, mini-grids starting at $34.95 and full grids starting at $94.95.

CloudServe is a service operated by Austin-based 3D Virtual Web, Inc., the company behind Virtual World City.

Leslie Harris

Leslie Harris

Prices are mid-range — not as low as Zetamex, but about half those of Dreamland Metaverse.

“While not promoting CloudServe as being the cheapest web hosting company in the virtual community, it is a reasonable cost for an expertly operated, full service, all-inclusive hosting company,” said owner and CEO Leslie Harris in a statement.

In particular, all customers get a management panel that provides them with appropriate functionality, such as restarting regions or loading and saving OAR region backup files and IAR inventory backup files. There are also automatic daily backups, and grid owners can choose what time of day those backups will be performed.

Owners of multiple adjacent regions can also file a support ticket to have those regions configured as varregions or megaregions, meaning that there are no border crossings. This functionality is currently being incorporated into the control panel.

Harris declined to specify which cloud provider is used for the hosting, but did say that the regions are always on, running in CloudServe’s dedicated cloud on large, dedicated servers.

 

A CloudServe control panel. Click for full-sized image. (Image courtesy CloudServe.)

A CloudServe control panel. Click for full-sized image. (Image courtesy CloudServe.)

Region rentals

CloudServe offers individual regions of up to 45,000 prims, running on a shared server, for $7.95 a month. Includes unlimited bandwidth, OAR and IAR backups, and hypergrid access.

These regions can be connected to any open grid, such as OSgrid — when it comes back up — Metropolis, FrancoGrid, Craft, or the recently-launched Tangle OS.

Discounts are available for bulk purchases. An order of ten regions, for example, is $59.95 a month, or just under $6 per region.

High performance versions of the same regions are $14.95 per month, and bulk discounts are available as well.

These regions are run on server with a faster processor, Harris told Hypergrid Business.

A pre-built starter region. (Image courtesy CloudServe.)

A pre-built starter region. (Image courtesy CloudServe.)

Mini-grids

A mini-grid is a small, private grid that runs entirely within a single server, and is a common first step for people looking to run their own grids but who aren’t ready for all the management challenges of running a full grid. It’s also a good choice for people looking to have a virtual personal home base without being connected to any grid in particular, for a base for hypergrid travel, or as a small group or destination grid.

A one-region mini-grid is $34.95 and can hold up to four local avatars. Local avatars are those that register directly with the grid, and their entire inventories are stored by the grid.

There’s no limit to how many visitors can come over hypergrid teleport from other grids, however.

According to Harris, the maximum number of simultaneous avatars that a region can hold is around 40.

“We have not had opportunity to test it full capacity,” said Harris. “This is based on scalable servers which can handle upwards of that figure. Testing will occur soon.”

For those who want a mini-grid with more than one region, additional regions are $15 each.

There is also a $59.95 mini-grid plan that comes with two regions and can hold up to 10 local avatars. Additional regions are, again, $15 each.

The mini-grids come with hypergrid connectivity, and OAR and IAR backups and uploads.

Customers also get a custom hypergrid address, such as mynewgrid.cloudserve.biz.

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Full grids

A full grid uses a separate server for central grid administration functions such as avatar inventories, messages, and money. As a result, it can scale indefinitely, but there’s an additional cost for central grid server.

A starter grid, with just one region, is $94.95 a month, with additional regions $15 each. That includes a full member control panel, hypergrid connectivity, and online grid management tools. There are also daily OAR and IAR backups in addition to a dedicated RAID 5 database.

Discounts are available for bulk purchases. For example, a grid with 50 regions is $594.95 a month, or just about $10 for each additional region.

The grids also come with an integrated money system, called Virtual Game Tokens, from sister company Digital Rewards.

“GT — Game Tokens — are already registered with the US federal agency FinCEN, based on new currency laws that went into effect on October 9, 2014,” said Harris. “That eliminates concerns regarding legalities.”

The management team

CloudServe is run by owner and CEO Leslie Harris and project manager and programmer Greg Harris.

Leslie Harris has a background in business and customer service, with nearly 22 years of experience running a commercial printing company.

Greg Harris has a background in Linux, Windows, and OpenSim, and his virtual worlds experience dates back to 2006.

The technology

CloudServe has a strategic alliance with its data center, allowing substantial servers, abundant memory capabilities, and advanced security, the company said in a press release. Instant additional servers are available, with the RAID 5 implemented, and limitless hosting resources.

RAID is a type of storage technology that allows for faster access, redundancy, self-healing capabilities, and — to a limited  degree — built-in backups. However, as the recent experience on OSgrid, Craft, and New Reality grid has shown, RAID storage can go down as well, and customers should make sure that their hosting providers use a second system just for backups, or make regular OAR and IAR backups of their own.

CloudServe addresses that concern with automatic daily backups, the company said, and also offers self-serve OAR and IAR backups as well.

Support is available through multiple channels, including email, Skype and phone.

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

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.

  • Bryan French

    “A starter grid, with just one region, is $94.95 a month, with additional regions $15 each.” I would elaborate on those prices. Is that $94.95/mo per simulator or does every full grid only get one simulator to cram all it’s regions in? In any event if it is $94.95/mo for one region and a simulator with additional regions at $15 the full grid service is more expensive than Dreamland! If we use our own Exo-Life as an example which has 10 regions it would cost us $135 for 9 extra regions plus $94.95, total $229.95. On Dreamland we are paying $45 for grid services, and $45 each for two simulators, total $135. Looks to me like this new provider is hugely more expensive. We can add two more simulators and 10 more regions on Dreamland before we achieve their price! “Prices are mid-range — not as low as Zetamex, but about half those of Dreamland Metaverse.” Check your math, A Mini-Grid Standalone on Dreamland is $45/mo and this new provider is $34.95. A 10 dollar difference is no where near ‘about half.’ Then it goes past Dreamland’s $45/mo to $59.95 if you add another region. Dreamland lets you have 4 regions for that $45/mo. It pays to do some homework.

    • Leslie Harris

      Thank you for the input regarding CloudServe. I would like to address your observations. I am thinking perhaps you did not notice the quanity discounts posted on the website. For instance ….

      [1] vWorld grid rates are as follows:
      *** The robust service operates on a seperate server from the regions. This results in the ability to have multiple robust instances, such as inventory, assets, etc. There is no additional charge to make these performance enhancements.
      *** Each land region operates on its own opensim instance (simulator).
      *** Starter grid with 1 region = $94.95 with additional region cost of $15.00 each region per month.
      *** Small grid with 10 regions = $194.95 with additional region cost of $12.00 each each per month.
      *** Medium grid with 25 regions = $329.95 with additional region cost of $10.00 each per month.
      *** Large grid with 50 regions = $479.95 with additional region cost of $8.00 each each per month

      So for comparison, CloudServe is less expensive than what was quoted in your reply based on its website discounted pricing. It is based also on each region being a separate instance (simulator), with no additional charge for the listed performance enhancements and that CloudServe can handle the large volume without having to turn away customers.

      [2] CloudServe offers an advanced control panel to empower the grid owner with the tools to operate more timely and efficiently.

      [3] This vGateway service is dedicated to the user who is looking for a secure access to the hypergrid. Clients have commented they want to have a protected inventory as one of their major concerns. The CloudServe business plan is to give its customers what they have been asking for = secure inventory and daily automatic backups (or set their own backup schedule from control panel) to list a few.
      I hope this post has been helpful.

      • Bryan —

        I believe when you quote Dreamland as $45 for four regions, you mean four regions sharing the same instance of OpenSim? I believe that means that you’re sharing prims across those four regions, not that you get four separate regions, each with its own 45,000 prim limit.

        When you compare CloudServe’s 45,000-prim full regions at $15 (the most expensive price) the least expensive price at Dreamland is $30, which is where I got my “half the price” comparison.

        The price for grid services is a big higher with CloudServe — if you look at the starter grid, the most expensive option, if the regions are all $15 each, the central grid services are then $95-15 = $80, which is twice that of Dreamland. But you only pay for the central grid services once, and the savings on regions add up quickly.

        I would like to see them offering their regions in varregion and megaregion configurations, so that you can spread the prims over a larger area at no additional cost, since there are probably plenty of people who don’t need all 45,000 prims and would love lower-cost options with more land. But that would add quite a bit of complexity to the pricing and ordering process and I think one thing that every hosting provider has learned over the past couple of years is that the more options you offer, the more confused customers get.

        As it is, they have excellent bulk prices, and I’d love to see a grid try them out, so we can see how they perform in practice.

  • hack13

    Very impressive 🙂

    I love the new added competition 🙂

    • hack13

      I just noticed that its using a tool I made for creation of regions 🙂

  • Digital Digital

    Just ordered a region from CloudServe this morning. The region is not online yet they are fixing some bugs but hopefully it should be online soon. If you would like to test the region you can get to it via Metropolis and the sim name is Digitalia the price package I went with is the $7.95/monthly. Again if you can’t teleport to it they are aware and trying to fix the bug please try again later.

  • AviWorlds

    I like the fact that CLOUDSERVE charges more money, like Dreamland Metaverse also does.
    The idea that you can get a region for as little as 8 dollars per month is not very attractive to me because that tells me that the vendor is packing many regions and instances in one server only. I personally think that if you are going for the 8 dollars region or 3 or 4 dollars ones…HOST IT YOURSELF at your home.The region will probably even have more quality then the one hosted by the hosting company because it will only your region in your pc which probably will have 4 maybe more ram.
    A higher priced region indicates to me that the region is probably being hosted in a server that is not as packed as the 3,4,8 dollars regions…That is why it is more money for it.

    LACK of ram in a region is serious! It will crash all the time. Teleports will not be as stable and scripts will crash the region easily. So if you really cannot host it yourself INVEST the money on a 30 dollars or higher region. No headaches.
    🙂

    • The problem with hosting it yourself at home isn’t RAM or memory or CPUs or anything like that — its the connection.

      Even if you have a fast Internet connection, the connection going back up is probably going to be very slow. Which means you’re not going to be able to get a lot of visitors on your region.

      For folks who don’t expect visitors, yes, a home-based setup like Sim-on-a-Stick or New World Studio is great.

      But if you want people to be able to come over, you really need to host with a data center.

      If people start seeing their regions lagging, they can always upgrade to a higher plan, or get an OAR file and switch hosting companies.

      • Geir Nøklebye

        Not a problem if you have fiber. I can upgrade to 400/400 if needed 🙂 …that speed comes at a cost though.

        • lmpierce

          Still, it depends on the available service. I have fiber to the house, from AT&T, and at this residential address I checked and they do not offer such a service at any price.

        • Nice! All I have is what the local cable company offers, and in the evening when everyone turns on their Netflix, my download speed really drops. And don’t even get me started on my upload speed.

    • lmpierce

      In most service models, there are levels of pricing that reflect the level of quality and service. So, starting at $7.95, CloudServe offers ‘entry level’ service. This might be just right for the person who wants to use their sim privately, but doesn’t have sufficient resources at home to run it locally. They also promote that they have a high performance version for $14.95, which would probably answer the need for having some visitors concurrently. Kitely starts at $14.95 and they are known to have excellent performance and service, so this seems like a market tested price level for a high functioning sim that will support some level of multiple avatar activity. I like the Kitely $19.95 premium plan because it allows for multiple regions in megaregion configurations, but again, that’s an increase in capacity which I value, but others may find unnecessary. And from there, prices at most hosts rise as the sim capacity rises…