Linden Lab's Second Life grid platform is off to a particularly rocky start in 2008. Problems with databases, internal networking, server failures, system configurations and more have combined to make day-to-day operations of the platform something of a chore.
Since Wednesday the second of January, there have been daily failures affecting assets and inventory, communications, transportation, logins, disbursement of group funds, and even the statistical data feeds published by Linden Lab have ceased updating.
As to exactly what the sudden cause of all of these problems are is unclear. The Linden Lab blog refers to the symptoms, but little information is given on the causes. The Second Life Developer's Mailing List contains just a little more information (barely), but not enough to determine if the daily problems for this last week can be expected to last for hours, for days, or for far longer before there is any resolution.
While Linden Lab has improved on notification of symptoms in the last year, tending increasingly to give timely acknowledgment of problems, and announcements when resolved (though 'resolved', as it turns out seems to be quite a slippery term this year so far), users are left with very little useful information on which to base plans.
While a half hour problem with login services was corrected this-morning, there's no word as to whether the underlying cause of the problem has been solved, or if the service was simply kicked until it started to work again (metaphorically speaking). Neither we nor the other users of Second Life can tell you if you can expect logins to start failing again later today, or if things will be fine.
Pragmatism suggests additional failure would be the smart way to bet, though.
Communication isn't easy. It's a challenge - people who understand the technical aspects of what is going on during a crisis (and there have been so many crises in the last few days) are often much in demand to use their expertise to help fix the problem, rather than spending their time reporting on it. Most especially when it's out of business-hours, and there aren't as many pairs of hands as you'd like.
Communication is a competing priority for time and other resources - but like all of them it has to be balanced with everything else.
When can we expect the current spate of problems to end? We honestly have no idea - there's just not enough information to even guess; which is sort of the point here. Things seem to be getting worse, though, rather than better. It gives the feel of the service falling apart in a serious way. If that's not the case, maybe someone should say something about that, and why that's the wrong impression.