Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Solution for Slowness

Hi Everyone-

Here's an update from David:

We had a phone call with BB today and covered several short and long term issues and goals. First, there is a team of DBA’s reviewing the behavior and performance of the Vista server. We should have their recommendations later today. Another action in regard to the current performance is to add another node with in the next 24hrs with a possibility of an additional one if needed.

Long term, we all know and agree to try to move to AP2 in the window we discussed, September 22. This is greatly needed to fix many of the issues that are affecting the performance of our bulging database.

Short term, we could get some improved performance if we could run garbage collection on Production. They have written a script and need to test this on the QA server first, then if that looks good, run it after hours on the Production server. Our concern is that we have our archives safe from previous terms. Toward this end, BB is setting up a third server and will clone Production there. Let me summarize the use and process of these three ASP servers:

  1. QA server: this will be cloned from Production;
    1. old terms (at least FA2006) will be deleted and garbage collection (GC) run here to test the script. This will probably occur on Monday.
    2. After GC is run, the AP2 upgrade will be run and evaluated, some time later next week.
  2. 3rd ASP server: this will contain a copy of all of our data on Production.
    1. If anything is lost at anytime over the next several weeks or months in making these adjustments, we will have a copy.
    2. We also have a copy on the Test server, but it is not available as yet, due to some technical problems that we work on in our spare time.
    3. In summary, we will have Fall 2006 and Spring 2007 in two places.
  3. Production
    1. If the GC script runs as expected on the QA server, they will do this after hours for several evenings on Production to remove deleted sections
    2. LTC needs to determine what Terms we can live without on the Production server, so that we can enhance our performance

i. Can we delete Fall 2006?

ii. Can we delete Spring 2007?

One point that one of the ASP managers made is that the first week of online school for all of their customers is the busiest time of the term, but many students either drop or become less active after the first week. He thought that we had some advantage in not having all the colleges start on the same day but rather staggering them.

In summary, we are working with the ASP on resolving the current issue by adding an application node, possibly making some adjustments to the database operations, per the DBA’s recommendations. We are also taking an extra measure to previous term data, and initiating a series of tests and processes that will – we believe – provide better performance and a more stable software in a few weeks.


Just to update you on college start dates: we are slow this week because 6 colleges started classes yesterday. 8 others, including us, start this coming Monday. Vista will certainly be slow Monday and Tuesday of next week just because of that, although the additional node will help. Please be patient and don't plan on a lot of heavy class work until after mid-week next week.


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