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Exposing Second Life's Data Centers

Today InformationWeek undresses Second Life and leaves it naked and trembling. We lift up its skirts and peer at its naughty bits. We open up its dresser drawers and paw through its unmentionables. In other words, we go inside the data centers and describe some of the server and software technology that keeps the virtual world running.

Today InformationWeek undresses Second Life and leaves it naked and trembling. We lift up its skirts and peer at its naughty bits. We open up its dresser drawers and paw through its unmentionables. In other words, we go inside the data centers and describe some of the server and software technology that keeps the virtual world running.

For those of you who are too hot and bothered to read the complete article, here are some highlights: The software architecture is an extension of the virtual world metaphor of Second Life. Each instantiation of the server architecture of Second Life controls a specific area of virtual real estate, and is assigned to a specific server, or a specific processor on a larger server. The server software -- called "simulators," or "sims" -- moves around, based on server crashes or downtimes. Still, at any time, it's possible to walk into one of Second Life's two data centers, pat one of the rack-mounted servers, and say that particular server is running virtual New York, or San Francisco, or ancient Rome.

Linden Lab, which develops and maintains Second Life, runs 2,000 Intel- and AMD-based servers in two co-location facilities in San Francisco and Dallas.

Read the article for more on Linden Lab's open source plans (although not too much more -- they're not saying much), and how Linden Lab is coping with the explosive growth of Second Life.

What else would you like to know about Second Life technology? Do you know any Second Life secrets you'd like to share with our readers?