A server for (just about) every user?!?
After betting a symbolic quarter that in two years, Second Life's concurrent user numbers will eclipse WoW's, Linden Lab execs state that scaling isn't a problem, despite the fact that each physical server only handles 3 users at peak concurrency (!).
There's little question that "Second Life" manages far fewer users per server than other virtual worlds. Sony Online Entertainment's "EverQuest II," which has more than 250,000 users, runs on about 1,100 dual-CPU, x86 (x86 is the processor architecture used by most AMD and Intel chips) servers spread across 37 clusters of 20 to 40 servers. Each of those handles around 116 users at peak usage, according to figures provided by SOE.
"My understanding of (Linden Lab's) back-end requirements are that they're absurd and unsustainable," said Daniel James, CEO of Three Rings, publisher of the online game "Puzzle Pirates." "They have (about) as many peak simultaneous players as we do, and we're doing it on four CPUs."
Absurd and unsustainable... my experience with Second Life in a nutshell. Check out ZDNet's take on scaling in Second Life by clicking here.