Review: How AviWorlds hosting compares

Editor’s Note: AviWorlds, an OpenSim-based virtual world, launched a sister hosting company in late June, Avi-Labs. At Hypergrid Business, we’ve been hesitant to recommend it because it had no track record and no customers, and its parent company has a long and turbulent history of instability. Today, however, we have a guest column from a customer who’s been using the service for the past two months, Mike Townsend, the owner of the United Kingdom grid.

(Image courtesy United Kingdom Grid.)
(Image courtesy United Kingdom Grid.)

I have been dipping my feet in the water with several hosts including YourSimSpot, AviWorlds, SkyLife Grid, Kitely, Great Canadian Grid, Oliveira and Lost Paradise and I have to say that all of these have been surprisingly keen and helpful in their approach to setting up regions quickly and efficiently. I still have regions running on all of these hosts.

I would happily give an account of my experience with any one of those providers listed in my opening paragraph as they are, in my opinion, responsive, helpful and knowledgeable and essentially good at what they do.

So where does AviWorlds sit? Firstly, of course, two months is a very short time. However, it does let you compare the service with others and take into account any downtime, lag or technical issues and to get an idea of how responsive a host is if you hit on a problem.

With AviWorlds my request was originally for one region which gave me the opportunity to see if the service and region worked well. I set up the region and loaded it with prims and it worked perfectly with a good frames-per-second rate and zero down time.

(Image courtesy United Kingdom Grid.)
(Image courtesy United Kingdom Grid.)

I then asked them to set up my grid there. This basically involved several mega regions and some single standard regions. All in all about 30 regions of varying configurations.

For just US $60 a month AviWorlds offers a super ten-by-ten variable-sized regions — the equivalent of 100 standard regions — with a 150,000 prim limit. This is the account I have.

My first concern was that this was too cheap and cannot possibly work well. I couldn’t have been further from the mark.

AviWorlds owner Alexsandro Pomposelli has been really good with the customer service side of things and is always on hand to help with any problems.

The AviWorlds grid is actually quite interesting and has several fascinating regions and some very good builds from former Second Life members. The boatyard by JP Products and the massive cruise liner are certainly worth a visit since the quality of build is as good as anything in Second Life. There is quite an active community there too and it seems split between those that like partying or solitary builders.

The person who set up my regions was Josh Boam. He asked all the right questions and guided me through the whole process. A couple of my OAR region backup files were problematic and he spent time and effort resolving the issues. The enthusiasm about what he does and the grid he is helping to run is contagious. A remarkable guy to say the least.

I can understand the concerns about their history. For me this was a consideration but I am also careful to back up all my OAR files and also have identical copies of my regions actually up and running elsewhere so I can re-point people to other locations.

(Image courtesy United Kingdom Grid.)
(Image courtesy United Kingdom Grid.)

I am also particularly impressed with the way AviWorlds make use of Linux for the asset hosting — which is more robust — but then use Windows for the simulators. They were also careful to host my regions on their European servers which is a big plus for me as I am based in the U.K.

Another thing that impressed me about AviWorlds was their attitude towards content theft. Boam actually made a point of walking around my regions that he had uploaded and checking that the content of my freebie malls was legal. He found a Land Rover vehicle that I had no idea was a problem and advised me of this and a couple of other items that could have caused issues with the creators. I deleted them accordingly.

I like that approach. It shows you that they are responsible enough to care about content theft.

It’s early days, but so far so good. And whatever the previous history of AviWorlds, I put my faith in them this time round as I am inspired by the competence and knowledge of Josh who is running the hosting aspect of this grid.

This looks like a winning team from my perspective.

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