Growing Pains at Linden Lab

Growth CurveIt seems that all of the insane growth in the Second Life platform over the past year has finally caught up to Linden Lab.  An announcement was made this past week to explain a new policy for dealing with grid overload. 

You can read about the announcement here:

Contingency Measures to Ensure Service as Second Life Grows

At the core, this announcement can be boiled down to this one quote:

“When you open your log-in screen and see in the upper right hand corner Grid Status: Restricted, you’ll know that only those Second Life Residents who have transacted with Linden Lab either by being a premium account holder, owning land, or purchasing currency on the LindeX, will be able to log-in. Residents who are in Second Life when this occurs will only be affected if they log-out and want to return before the grid returns to normal status.”

There has been no announcement or clarification as to what qualifies an account as a “paying” customer.  From this announcement it “appears” that non-paying equals no access during restricted periods.  Because private islands are purchased, and pay a montly maintenance fee, I am “assuming” that all accounts that are associated with a private island are exempt from this latest change in policy.  Does this apply to both the main grid and the teen grid?  It was stated in one post that the Beta grid does not go down during these times of overload. 

I’ve posted several inquiries to the SLED listserv asking for clarification, and I hope to see a reply posted in the next day or so (today is a holiday here in the States). 

Over at 3pointD they have two very good articles on these latest announcements, and there are many good comments and questions posted in reply.  One comment to the first post is from a LL engineer.  His reply sheds a little more light on the problem.  I suspect that a discussion on this policy change, and how LL is addressing these growing pains, will be running for the next few weeks (if not months) in various blogs and publications around the web. 

Here are links to those two articles:

Linden Lab Approaches a Crossroad

A Missive From the Crossroads of Second Life

I am at least encouraged to see that the comments from the engineer hints that the underlying system is being restructured to grow with the demand.  Everything on the Internet, including the Internet itself, have gone through growing pains in times of rapid growth and adoption.  It is the measure of both the technology and the management of these systems and services that separates the trends from the standards. 

The next six months should give us a good indication as to how bad these growing pains are going to be, and if they will impede the growth and adoption of the SL platform in the near future. 

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