Bright Canopy could be up on Monday

Update 2: The community meeting transcript is here, and the Bright Canopy service will probably be coming back only for a limited number of users until the Amazon price fluctuations are dealt with.

Update: The company will hold a community meeting Saturday morning in Second Life to answer user questions. More details here.

Bright Canopy's service outage screen.

Bright Canopy’s service outage screen.

Bright Canopy, a startup offering browser-based access to Second Life and OpenSim, has suspended services temporarily due to an unexpectedly high number of new signups, but could be back up on Monday.

Jerri Glover

Jerri Glover

“We have our technical issues solved, which is great news,” community coordinator Jerri Glover told Hypergrid Business.

But there is still a question about what might happen in some unusual circumstances that Bright Canopy is checking on, founder and CEO Bill Glover told Hypergrid Business.

“So far it looks good,” he said. “I’m hoping for an answer today, but I can’t know for sure until I get it. Based on the discussions this morning, I think we will be back up Monday at the earliest.”

During this time, Bright Canopy will also be restructuring its pricing.

Previously, the company offered a $17-per-month unlimited use plan. That may now be changing to $17 for the first 20 hours a month, and 1.3 cents a minute after that — or $0.78 per hour — according to the company’s announcement. Users will not be charged for the previous weekend and for the down time.

Bill Glover

Bill Glover

 

Bright Canopy officially came out of its invitation-only pre-release phase on August 29, offering browser-based access to the official Second Life viewer and to the Firestorm viewer. It got rave reviews for its graphics quality, performance, and features such as full voice support and file uploads and downloads.

The company previously warned users that the pricing model might have to change.

“We’ve seen price fluctuations on the back end, and we still need to watch actual usage of the service,” Glover said in a post. “$17 is a sustainable price if the instance costs return to their typical, historical values. It is not a sustainable price with the current spike in instance price.”

Bright Canopy runs on the Amazon cloud platform and has to pay for the time its users are in-world. Some vendors address this issue by metering their customers as well, charging based on how much they use their service.

Many customers, however, prefer a flat rate approach.

The best known example of this in OpenSim is Kitely, which has been experimenting with metered pricing since it first launched in March 2011. Kitely also uses the Amazon cloud on its back end. Kitely finally threw in the towel this summer, finally getting rid of the remaining metered options and going fully to flat rate pricing.

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.

  • hack13

    So wait, I am confused. I thought they were using fra.me are they switching to Amazon AppStream?

    • Bill Glover

      Hello Hack13,

      We’re still with Frame. Frame also uses AWS on the backend, although they do not use Amazon Appstream. I do want to emphasize that Monday is the *earliest* we could be back up. We’re going to have a community meeting tomorrow in-world on the SL Grid at Bright Canopy Island. Please watch for an announcement for the time. We want to share what we know and discuss options with the community.

  • Bill Glover

    Thank you for explaining things so clearly, Maria. We’re past the technical issues now, and the biggest question is what will make this service sustainable for the short term and the long term. We’re going to have an in-world discussion to talk about this tomorrow as I mentioned to Hack13. We hope everyone who has questions or suggestions can make it.