Continuing Tech Blogs Q1 2021
Continuing with our desire to utilize the technical team blogs more, we have some updates to give regarding our services and upcoming network changes. As we look forward to 2021, and back over the first quarter of the year, we have many exciting things coming, and many old services that are being retired to make way for the future of VATSIM technology!
We have refreshed our load balancing layer to give us better insight into traffic, and allow more configuration options moving forward. As part of this project, we’ve moved more traffic back to Cloudflare by caching the datafiles and refreshing them when the file is rebuilt every 15 seconds. This has resulted in a reduction in traffic over our infrastructure layers from over 500 Mb/s at peak times, down to less than 20Mb/s.
As we announced in March, we will be moving VATSIM Velocity to closed alpha status in the coming weeks. Velocity introduces fast position updates network-wide. Previously position updates were sent every five seconds, Velocity moves to receive position updates five times per second when you are within a 10 mile radius of another aircraft. This change will bring around massive improvements to how you see aircraft right around you. When members are taxiing, flaring, rotating, turning, or even crashing when they've made a mistake in formation flying, these will happen in real time!
We are finalizing the alpha for Velocity and if you are interested in helping us test and prepare for release, please visit the Velocity website and sign up for the alpha. We will be selecting a limited number of users and you will receive an email if selected.
Retirement Notice - SSO
As stated in the previous tech blog, SSO is being retired on April 1st. Kieran Hardern’s SSO has served the network incredibly well since May 2014, however moving away from the old SSO allows us to adopt the OAuth 2 standard across the network, and moving us to a modern authentication system. You can find documentation for Connect here, you can also create your organization here.
Retirement Notice - Old Data Feed Files
As stated in the previous tech blog, all of our old data feeds are being retired in lieu of our newest feed, JSON V3. The V3 feed has a faster-refresh, updated format allowing developers better control over what data to consume. This feed will become the ONLY available data feed for consumption as of the 2nd April 2359z.
Please note, if you are consuming the JSON V3 datafeed, ensure you are getting the URL at random from the new JSON status file, http://status.vatsim.net/status.json to allow for potential extensibility in the future.
Work continues on the new VATSIM website with collaboration between Web Dev and Marketing. We are very excited for our membership to see the final product.
We have plans to revisit Connect and optimise the code and database. The system has a large overhead in system load and we need to reduce this. This will not have any impact on any existing organisations and all endpoints will function the same responses with your existing secret keys.
With the old SSO retirement looming, we have a new stats website very nearly ready for release. This has a refreshed UI, and in the coming weeks, will have a greater analysis of our data. More to be shared on that in due course!
Néstor Pérez has stepped down from the position of Assistant to the VP of Development. Néstor has contributed to the VATSIM tech team as the Assistant to the VP of Development for many months, even longer as a Developer and will continue to serve as a Senior member of the VATSIM tech team.
Following Néstor’s departure, Jacob Boyles will be taking over as the Assistant to the VP of Development. Jacob is the Washington ARTCC's Webmaster and we are excited to bring his expertise into the tech team leadership.
Finally, the VATSIM Web Team welcomes Alexandra Robison from the Albuquerque ARTCC. Allie has been a long-standing member of the network, having maintained the ZAB tech stack since 2010. With skills across a variety of our tech stack, we’re very excited to see the work she brings to the team in the coming months!
If you are involved in a technical way, i.e Webmaster, Infrastructure Manager, etc at an FIR, vACC, Division, Region, Affiliated Virtual Airline, Authorised ATO, or other services, and you have not yet joined our VATSIM Technical Development and Web Discord Server, please send us an email at [email protected] to get a link. Here you can communicate with all technical people across the network, share resources, assist others and get quick access to the VATSIM Tech and Development teams!
Our thanks to all the members for support in continuing to drive VATSIM to be the best network for online flight simulation!
Matt, Jacob, Matt, Nick