Posted by: Peter Quirk | July 2, 2008

RealXtend reliability

I have been hammering realXtend 0.3 pretty hard, and the results are disappointing from a reliability point of view. There seems to have been a regression from the 0.21 release in the stability of the back-end servers. For example, I spent a couple of hours yesterday in an unmodified release (except for address changes required to place the server processes on a separate server) and experienced at least a dozen crashes. I was working with a colleague, introducing him to the features of realXtend. Every time one of us ran the avatargenerator, or logged out, the Authentication Server would terminate without an error alert. The world (or storage) server crashed a few times, as did the avatarstorage server.

Over the weekend I had run into similar instability using a setup including the MS SQL Server database. I had assumed that the instability was due to the fact the the MSSQL provider has not been tested as much as the SQLite provider (the default). Inspection of the comments in the server code reinforced this opinion – there are many scary comments and TODOs that suggest that this provider needs some serious work.

However, I can’t say reverting to the SQLite provider has improved the reliability at all. I am starting to see a pattern that suggests some kind of resource starvation or conflict, but I haven’t been able to put my finger on it yet. The fact that problems go away after rebooting the server system suggests that sockets may not be released properly or that the non-paged pool is being abused. (There’s no sign of a major memory leak.)

I’ve also seen this on the client side. I mentioned in an earlier post that the client couldn’t uplaod an image. This problem went away when I rebooted the client.

On the good news side, the process of importing objects from Google’s 3D warehouse is getting better. For those who want some preliminary information on how to do this, check out this thread on the rexdeveloper forum.

My colleague, whom I have never met and who works from home, really enjoyed the experience. He already has some Second Life experience. He had approached me about the possibility of creating a virtual workplace for his team of people who support a worldwide community of several thousand users of an internal application. The HTML on a prim and VNC on a prim features got him thinking about how to implement training rooms and how to do remote support within a single support environment that will create a sense of place and team cohesion for his group of six, all of whom work from home.

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