Linden Lab

Company Overview:

Linden Lab is the maker of Second Life, the immersive 3D virtual world imagined and created by its users or Residents. Since 2006, Linden Lab has used Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store elements used in the Second Life world and to distribute the Second Life Viewer to end users. In November 2008, when AWS released Amazon CloudFront, a content delivery service, Linden was faced with a decision: which service should it use to deliver its content?

LINDEN-LAB-Case-Study-Foetron Inc.Perhaps not surprisingly, the right answer for Linden Lab was to use both services. They decided to use CloudFront for some of their content, while other content remained only in Amazon S3. They made the determination based on the popularity of their content: those objects that were downloaded frequently would be moved to CloudFront, those that were downloaded less frequently would be delivered through Amazon S3 alone.

Specifically, Linden Lab first enabled a CloudFront distribution for downloads of the Second Life Viewer. The Second Life Viewer is an application that each Resident runs on their own computer to interact with the Second Life world. Downloads of the Viewer were ideally suited for CloudFront delivery. The Viewer can be downloaded over 40 thousand times each day by different users all over the world and using CloudFront helps Residents download their software faster by storing copies at edge locations close to them. Currently, CloudFront uses 14 edge locations across the world.

“CloudFront has significantly reduced the time it takes for our Residents to download our Viewer, wherever they are,” said Linden Lab’s Bryan O’Sullivan. “The process for getting up and running with CloudFront was simple and straightforward, and took just a few minutes.”

At the same time, Linden continues to use Amazon S3 for its less frequently accessed content, particularly assets used as part of the Second Life in-world experience. These include assets like sounds, skeleton and texture files, and animations that are part of every Resident’s inventory. “We chose to store our less frequently accessed content in Amazon S3 because it gives high durability for great value,” said O’Sullivan.

Next, Linden Lab plans to enable map tiles for delivery with Amazon CloudFront. Second Life Residents can use map tiles to navigate and travel in the online world. So, like the Second Life Viewer, individual map tiles are popular objects that are well suited for CloudFront’s edge delivery: each map tile is requested many times by users all over the world. With CloudFront, copies of map tiles will be held in edge locations close to Viewers, reducing latency and improving the user experience.


Amazon Case Study: Linden Lab

Date: 28-08-2013

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