Dreamland tops this year’s hosting survey

Dreamland Metaverse outscored the two other major providers in every category in this year’s OpenSim hosting providers survey, while CloudServe, the new kid on the block, scored a close second.

2015 Hosting survey scores

Zetamex scored last in four out of five categories. Zetamex also had an ownership change this past year, and had long stretches of time when it was not accepting new customers.

“In the past seven years I have done business with Oliveria, Zetamex, and Dreamland,” wrote one customer. “Dreamland is by far the best grid hosting provider! In over a year of service with Dreamland there has been zero downtime, no random or unexpected changes to interface or tinkering with services, and stability of ownership. Dreamland gives you exactly what you want in a grid with fast service.”

“Since moving over to Dreamland, the reliability and accessibility for my grid has been unrivaled by any other host I have been with outside closed grids,” wrote another. “Any questions that I have are answered promptly and with experienced detail. Would and have recommended them to colleagues and community friends.”

There was one positive comment about Zetamex

DigitalOceanKalasiddhiGridOliveira Virtual LandsSirinHGpole, and Your2live got only one response each, while DS40 and DigiWorldz got two responses.

Community and content were most wished-for by OpenSim hosting customers.

2015 Missing features

In addition, 29 percent of respondents said they wanted to see a web-based viewer, and 26 percent said they wanted an online marketplace.

The features most appreciated by OpenSim hosting customers were the ability to have their own grid, which was a plus for 51 percent of respondents, followed by the hypergrid at 29 percent. There was a four-way tie for third place, with 46 percent of respondents saying they appreciated higher prim limits, region and inventory backups, and low prices.

2015 most appreciated features

 

Finally, respondents were overwhelmingly positive about OpenSim pricing. Only one respondent said that OpenSim hosting was overpriced. Slightly more than half said the prices were reasonable for the services provided, and 43 percent called it a bargain.

2015 OpenSim 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.

  • Da Hayward

    great stuff Maria.

  • Alex Ferraris

    Hmm I didnt even know about this survey…Was Avi-Labs included on this survey?

    • Frank Corsi

      Nope, but everyone knew dreamland would win no matter how many of my customers submitted surveys.

      • Yes, since Kitely isn’t even mentioned, yet its Kitely Market constitutes over 50% of all commerce in the hypergrid, you have to wonder at Maria’s objectivity if she’s not running her own sims as an independent grid to maintain journalistic objectivity. Perhaps Maria should move her sims to different providers each year to be fair to everyone?

        • 1derworld

          Its a hosting survey, Not a marketplace survey. Just sayin

        • Justin Time

          Where in the universe did you ever get your statistics? “Kitely Market constitutes over 50% of all commerce in the hypergrid”? Really? Name one entity that records all transactions throughout the Opensimulator Metaverse.

        • I have, on occasion, set up regions with various providers to test services, but in general only have regions on my own, private grid. That grid is hosted by Dreamland Metaverse. I have been happy with their hosting service, but then again, I cover this space, so they might be extra motivated to respond to any questions that I have, so I can’t vouch that my particular experience is necessarily representative. I did set up regions on Kitely, especially when they rolled out new features or services, in order to test them out and write about them. But again — KITELY IS NOT A GRID HOSTING PROVIDER. They are a grid. If you are interested in rating them as a grid, I’m running a grid survey now here: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2016/10/seventh-annual-opensim-grid-survey/

          As of today, more than 500 people have submitted responses, with Kitely being one of the leading grids in terms of the number of ratings (right up there with InWorldz, OSgrid, and Metropolis). Later on this year, I will do a separate survey of hosting providers.

          You CANNOT compare grids and hosting providers. They are two very different types of companies, offering very different types of services.

          (Though some companies do both — DigiWorldz runs both the DigiWorldz grid, and also provides hosting for other grids. So does SkyLife and Genesis Metaverse.)

          As to the size of the Kitely Market — neither they, nor any other hypergrid commerce platform release sales numbers. (I would love, love love to see them!)

          However, the Kitely Market is definitely the largest on the hypergrid in terms of amount of content, by far, and when I talk to users, especially enterprise users such as schools, non-profits, and companies, they invariably say that they get their content from the Kitely Market.

  • Da Hayward

    was it a competition? well there you go.

    • Frank Corsi

      Not a traditional competition where everyone has tested all the participants to judge them properly, like a chili cookoff or a wine tasting type competition. This is more to hear what people say about opensim with the added bonus that dreamland is always the best.

      • Da Hayward

        Was just kidding Frank, Hey well done & compliments of the season

      • Justin Time

        The sad truth is, Dreamland for whatever reason got more positive response than any other hosting provider. Maria was only reporting the information that she received from her limited questionnaire. If Maria says Dreamland was the top hosting provider for the year 2015, then they were, according to HER SURVEY.

        How aware were all clients of all hosting companies of a survey? How many actually completed it, or thought they did?

        I have no reason to doubt the survey results. I have every reason not to place any value of service upon those results.

    • Depending on how well this survey was publicized, this is more a measure of how many people read Hypergrid Business and what grids they use. There is no statistical validity to any of these measurements since its entirely opt-in, user selection bias, plus how much individual grid owners promoted to their customers to complete the survey. A better measurement is the free market: which grids have the most regions, the most customers? I don’t see Dreamland publicizing their stats in this regard. When I can get a 4×4 megaregion from Kitely for under $40 a month, a service that Dreamland charges $135 a month for, whereas Kitely has had total grid stability since 2011 whereas Korolev gives Dreamland’s stability for only the past year, you have to ask, what does a user pay an additional $95 a month for with Dreamland that they can’t get at Kitely?

      • This isn’t a grid survey, but a hosting providers survey. Click here for last year’s grid survey: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2015/10/2015-opensim-grid-survey/

        Kitely isn’t a direct competitor of Dreamland Metaverse. Kitely rents out regions on the Kitely grid.

        Dreamland sets up your own private grid for you.

        It’s the difference between having a page on Facebook, and having your own website.

        For schools and businesses and non-profits, having your own grid means that you can restrict access to just your users, control all the content on the grid, schedule your own maintenance times to avoid downtimes during events, add regions or processing power as required, and run the version of OpenSim most appropriate for your needs.

        In addition, customers who buy private grids can also resell land on those grids to individual customers while providing social opportunities and content — for example, you can create a commercial role playing grid, a social grid, and so on, and make money from this, while having Dreamland — or another hosting provider — handle all the technical details associated with running OpenSim.

        • Sorry but thats not entirely accurate, to put it simply. You really should explore Kitely more.

          • Mike — I’ve been covering Kitely since the company first launched. I’m pretty sure that if they suddenly began offering private grid rentals, I would know!

            Especially since I’ve been long after them to do just that. I think a lot of people would love to see Kitely offering white-labelled grids, especially the non-profit, education, and enterprise customers who are such a significant part of their user base.

          • But hey, if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. Send me a link to the announcement, and it will be my top story this weekend.

          • lmpierce

            Can you outline how that would look?

            I attended a course at UWE and they have their university on Second Life. One day we had griefers, so we reconvened on Kitely. The Kitely region was perfectly suited to our requirements for building, meeting and freedom from unauthorized intrusion.

            I’m curious, how would renting an entire grid add value to that circumstance? And would renting a grid add ongoing maintenance requirements, whereas using a Kitely region is as easy to use as paying a monthly bill and showing up.

            I’ve often wondered about the tradeoffs, and the value proposition of running a grid versus renting regions, particularly in an education setting. After all, Kitely is very secure unless that security is turned off.

            And what about controlling grid functionality? Kitely uses some proprietary code and mechanisms, so would that preclude their incentive to create a grid offering?

          • Larry —

            When you own your own grid, you have full control over your users’ accounts, and where they can and can’t go.

            You can add users centrally — say, every student in your school. Or delete them all once they leave the class. You can keep your students from teleporting to other places. You can restrict users from uploading content, etc… etc…

            You are fully in control.

            I’m not saying that Kitely does a bad job at running the Kitely grid, or in moderating, or in customer support. But they’re running it, not you. Students can visit other regions on the grid, or teleport out to other grids. Students can upload content, etc.. etc… That might be fine, or it might be against your school’s policies. And if you need to provision and deprovisions thousands of users at a time, it could be difficult to get Kitely to do that, since users are generally responsible for setting up and cancelling their own accounts.

            It all depends on what the school (or other organization) needs. For many, Kitely is a great option, and significantly reduces management overhead and costs.

            For some, they need to have a private grid for administrative or compliance reasons.

          • lmpierce

            I understand… clearly grids have some advantages. However, Kitely has proprietary enhancements. Would grids still be run off of the Kitely infrastructure, but with more administrative control, or is code necessarily made available that users implement on their own servers – I’m still fuzzy on this.

          • Kitely doesn’t offer private grid hosting and never has, so it’s all purely theoretical, anyway. I think if they were to offer it, they might extend their cloud architecture, but instead of offering, say, islands on the Kitely grid, they would offer mini-grids with their own grid names and loginURIs and user lists, with additional options in the management panel for administrators to use to add regions, add and delete users, etc..

            Dreamland, for example, allows grid administrators to create accounts for big lists of new users all at once, and to set bulk access permissions for users — so that teachers, for example, can teleport to other grids, but students can’t, that kind of things. Dreamland also allows administrators to restart regions, to upload and download OAR files, upload and download IARs, and do other management tasks for their grids. Other grid hosting providers typically offer a similar selection for their customers.

            It’s a lot more functionality than you typically get when you just rent individual regions from a grid. However, while the hosting companies generally provide you with technical support, you will have to provide support on your own to your users, organize your own events and calendars, create your own orientation programs — things that social grids typically provide for you.

            If you have a lot of land and want to control all aspects of your users’ environment, a private grid is also typically a cheaper option.

            In addition to schools, other groups that go in this direction are role playing groups, where they want some privacy, full control over the content on the grid (to make sure it’s appropriate to the game). They might also charge their players to access the grid.

            And, of course, anyone who wants to go into business as the owner of a social grid because they’re good at building a community, getting your grid hosted is the way to go. You don’t have to worry about any of the technical stuff, while all the content and user relations and marketing is up to you.

          • lmpierce

            Okay, this makes more sense to me now. It does sound like whole grids are (or would be) an interesting premium offer.

            Thanks for the detailed explanation!

  • Frank Corsi

    But you have not tried all the listed hosting providers to know what is better 🙂

  • Carlos Loff

    I don´t know if you posted somewhere but I can´t find the total amount of participants – What is the answering universe ? It is very different to look at these results if only 30 folks participated or if 250 did – Cheers

  • gabegw11

    I see you have Digital Ocean as listed as being a opensim hosting company. You may want to check that again because they are not they are just a VPS cloud server company. Has nothing to do with OpenSim.

    • Suz Blessed

      Indeed 🙂

    • Agreed. I have used Digital Ocean to host a collaboration grid for my company and found their server performance substandard.

  • Suz Blessed

    How many did respond and fill in the survey? Those results and conclusions do not mean anything without this info 🙁 And was it checked that the grids responding are actual costumers at the moment of filling out the survey, or could also EX costumers fill in the survey ?

    • There were 39 responses total, 26 of which were valid responses for one of the top three vendors.

      This is a reasonable turnout, given the fact that the responses were from people renting grids (or, in some cases, large groups of islands on open grids), rather than from individual users.

      Some responses were disqualified (for a number of reasons) but there were no attempts to deliberately lower any particular result — nobody rated a hosting company negatively across the board, and there were positive reviews for all vendors. I didn’t quote the ones that just said “great service” — the two I quoted from Dreamland went into the most detail.

      • Frank Corsi

        I know for a fact that I had talked to many of CloudServe customers who said they completed the survey completely positively. So how do you determine what is a valid response? And how can anyone compare CloudServe against another provider if they have never experienced all 3 providers?

        • I did this the same way as with the grids survey — people rated the provider that they used. It’s how most consumer product ratings are done.

          though in one case, one of the respondents specifically said that they did use all three hosting providers.

          In any case, I do want to point out that with a top score of 5, both Dreamland and CloudServe got close to perfect scores.

          • Frank Corsi

            How many were for each provider?

      • Frank Corsi

        Which vendor had the 26 valid responses? You listed the lower end responses but not the numbers for the top 3.

  • hmm tim got the lowest ranking in user interface? that hurts alot. i worked my butt off on that control panel for him and got nothing in return. major kick in the balls there to me.

  • Thanks for providing the information Maria. For some of the others commenting here, I think there is some confusion. In short, a poll is used to ask one simple question, while a survey is generally used to ask a wide range of questions. Maria conducted a survey. We need to understand the type of survey. There are advantages and disadvantages to this method. In this case, respondents are rating their own hosts or hosts they claim to have tried. They are expressing opinions. It is valid to assert this is not a random sampled statistical poll of each host. She is simply providing the information about the results of the opinions, level of participation in terms of popularity, and then referring to the prior survey which can indicate trends. It might be interesting to conduct a study but this is an opinion survey similar to market surveys – they cannot be compared to random-sampled statistical polls. I hope that helps sort out some confusion.

    We are all excited to be a part of this innovative community. We are all in this together so I hope we can all agree that it is difficult to evaluate the wild west of virtual worlds. We have a host of innovative solutions underway on many grids which all have different purposes and target markets. Hosting providers look to provide resources to grid owners in whatever configuration they need. Hosting providers are not all equal and neither are grids. But respondents are people and people have opinions that can be recorded in many ways – sometimes a survey produces useful information and sometimes it does not. But not surveying to get any information to be analyzed leaves us all in the dark when trying to listen to the heartbeat of the community.

    There are also reasons people prefer one host over another that can relate to location (avoiding too many hops or low bandwidth issues for their users), recommendations from a friend, they like the name, they prefer long-term providers over new entries into the market (or vice versa), etc. Sometimes it has nothing to do with reputation, performance, or even price. It is the job of the hosting providers to determine (constantly changing) markets. Sometimes they do their own market research and other times they look to independent research. I try not to look deeper into the data set than its depth. But it is interesting to see trends.