Linden Lab Case Study


Linden Lab is a San Francisco-based Internet company best known for its Second Life virtual world that provides a platform for users to generate and interact with 3D content. The Second Life virtual world can be accessed through Linden Lab’s client programs or via alternative third-party viewers. The company’s other offerings include Blocksworld, which lets users build and play with virtual 3D blocks, and “Project Sansar,” the code name for a new platform for virtual experiences that is scheduled for release in 2016.

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We can really ramp up our development speeds using Amazon EC2 Container Service, cutting our build and deployment times by 50% or more. With Amazon ECS, we have a very stable platform that allows us to dramatically scale our products."

Landon McDowell
Vice President of Operations, Linden Lab

The Challenge

  • Company had created products that used immutable host images running on bare metal servers.
  • The applications were monolithic and images took up to 15 minutes to deploy.
  • For Project Sansar, the company chose to use Docker containers for increased speed and consistency between environments.
  • Wanted to run Sansar at scale and needed efficient, fast cluster management and container orchestration.
  • Initially evaluated a range of open-source tools, but encountered failures, immaturity, instability, and management difficulties.

Why Amazon Web Services

  • Started using Amazon EC2 Container Service (Amazon ECS), a scalable, high-performance container management service that provides cluster management and container orchestration. The company runs the containerized web applications and backend services of Project Sansar across clusters of Amazon EC2 instances.
  • Built a custom scheduler for scheduling containers with specific PCI restrictions and CPU/memory requirements.
  • Built a continuous integration and continuous delivery pipeline into Amazon ECS using Jenkins and
  • Uses Elastic Load Balancing for automatic load balancing of traffic across containers and AWS CloudFormation to provision all Amazon ECS clusters and related resources.

The Benefits

  • Amazon ECS eliminates the need to install software and operate servers; this reduces overall management needs for running containers at scale and helps speed time to market.
  • Faster speed and efficiency in moving to containers, averaging one to two minutes for builds and one to three minutes for deployments—about 60 percent faster than previous build/deployment tools.
  • Service is more stable and production ready.

About Linden Lab

Linden Lab is a San Francisco-based Internet company best known for its Second Life virtual world that provides a platform for users to generate and interact with 3D content.

AWS Services Used

AWS Cloud​Formation

AWS CloudFormation provides a common language for you to describe and provision all the infrastructure resources in your cloud environment.

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Amazon ECS

Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) is a highly scalable, high-performance container orchestration service that supports Docker containers.

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Elastic Load Balancing

Elastic Load Balancing automatically distributes incoming application traffic across multiple targets, such as Amazon EC2 instances, containers, IP addresses, and Lambda functions.

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