It's with great sadness that we hear that DavidThomas Scorbal has decided to retire the E2V vending system at the end of May. E2V was a high quality, well supported system used by a great many Second Life merchants.
It's no secret that E2V was a competing system, so you might assume that this is a win for us. It's true that we might benefit from it in the short term. However, a reduction in consumer choice is bad for SL in general, and what's bad for SL is bad for us.
We are extremely grateful to our community for the overwhelming amount of support shown in the various discussion threads on this topic! However, we would politely ask that any such discussions remain constructive. If folk migrate to CasperVend, that's awesome. If they migrate to one of the alternatives, but remain active in Second Life, we consider that a win too. Please bear in mind that many users recently had to migrate from HippoVend after they shut down in February, so some may have been forced to move twice in a short space of time. Frustration is to be expected.
Our primary strategy in the next few weeks is not to win customers, but to make it as painless as possible for the merchants affected. For that reason, I have reached out to David to see if we can work together to facilitate an export format (which could then be imported into any system). Hopefully we can make this happen.
Of course, since we are one of the available choices for potential refugees from E2v, many do have questions about our offering and so I'll answer a few questions raised by people today:
Q: Are you going to shut down too?
A: No, most definitely not. We are profitable, still investing heavily in our infrastructure, and still developing our products. On a personal level, I've been doing this for nearly ten years now - there have been many challenges along the way, and certainly times when I've felt burned out, this is only natural. However, those times passed, and I have remained absolutely committed to CasperTech and this will not change.
Q: Can I import my data from E2V?
A: I hope so. I'm prepared to do whatever I can to help facilitate this - unfortunately I don't have a copy of the E2V system so I don't know what methods there are to export data. If you own E2V and would like to help, please get in touch :D
Q: Why should I switch to CasperVend rather than..
A: You should choose whichever system suits you best. However, our customers tend to choose us because of our huge amount of experience in this market, our gigantic array of features, and our excellent record for fixing things quickly when they go awry. We have a very powerful and redundant server network powering our services, and our security has never been compromised. Our products are extremely easy to use, and they are backed by a large, friendly support group and ticket system.
Q: Do you work for CasperTech full time?
A: Yes, but CasperTech is a real world company and we do real world work too. I work full time for various real-world clients, but it's always arranged in such a way that I can jump in and sort stuff out if necessary. This has always been the case, and it works well for us.
Q: What backups do you have in place?
A: In January 2018 following an investment programme "Project Spectre", we reached a state where every single one of our components is fully redundant and configured to fail-over if something breaks. All of our data is triplicated, and we have regular off-site backups in case of a major catastrophic event at the datacenter.
Q: How often is your service down or unavailable?
A: We maintain full transparency on our service outages. We fully document every major outage (we consider "major" to be any outage which lasts longer than 15 minutes). Of course, no service company is immune to such events, but we have taken every possible precaution to limit the damage caused by such incidents.
We've recently also added an off-site transaction processing system, which is strategically placed on an entirely different ISP, in a different country, and with a completely redundant network path to LL. This system will catch transactions in the event of a total outage, to ensure that your data is not lost.
Q: Do you offer a "self hosted" solution?
A: I'm afraid not, no. We made the decision not go down this path in order to be able to focus solely on our networked offering. A self-hosted solution depends on item servers (we call them dropboxes) being in the same region as the vendors, and for us, this largely eliminates the benefit of a vending system.
However, if you're currently an E2V user, remember that your self-hosted solution will continue to work. We would recommend migrating away eventually, since as the grid changes you will find things start to break over time - but for now, you're good.
If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
~ Casper Warden
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