[Portfolio] Slow-downs

Noah Botimer botimer at umich.edu
Tue May 19 10:56:27 PDT 2009


You've done a masterful job. I will only add that we are looking into  
this issue very seriously at Michigan. It's somewhat likely that we  
will end up engineering a new form finding mechanism for our Fall  
term. We will certainly keep the group posted.


On May 19, 2009, at 12:37 PM, Marc Zaldivar wrote:

> Sean,
> Teggin said that yesterday in the call you were discussing the  
> “form searching slow-down” issue.  Yes, VT hit this one pretty hard  
> this semester, and I know Michigan has also been faced with a  
> growing issue from this.  We spent a couple of hours on the phone  
> with Noah talking over some solutions, and though I didn’t talk to  
> him, I know our dev group also talked with Chuck Hedrick too.
> The breakdown of the issue came for us because we are using so many  
> of the “UROP”-type portfolios for our templates, which are  
> basically using form pages for each tab of a final display  
> portfolio, in our case sometimes as many as 17 or 18 different  
> forms for each complete portfolio (sometimes they were limitlessly  
> repeatable, so some students may have had upwards of 30 forms to  
> put into different slots in the template).  Each time the “Save  
> Changes” button is hit, it would search the database 5 times per  
> slot per form instance, making that sometimes 1000s of searches per  
> creation attempt.  When you do this in a demonstration with 25-30  
> kids in the room (ok, now everyone push “Save Changes...”), it’s  
> fatal.  Even without that, given the activity ramp-up we are  
> seeing, we were seeing an average of 60+ seconds for new users, and  
> for folks like me that own a lot of forms, it was often beyond our  
> threshold for database link-up at 10 minutes or something  
> ridiculous.  So, big big problem that is only going to get bigger  
> as we expand.  (We had at that time about 4k forms out of 250k  
> items in the database.)
> Ultimately, we tested several solutions, with the big two being (1)  
> a patch that Noah/rSmart came up with that (I think) refined the  
> search parameters without limiting it to My Workspace, creating a  
> cache that was searched repeatedly rather than having to keep  
> hitting the database time and again, and (2) Chuck Hedrick’s  
> solution to limit all searching to the My Workspace first.   
> Ultimately, #2 was faster on our test speeds.  We felt that maybe  
> #1 would be a better long-term solution, but that it would take  
> some real time to refine that search protocol and build the cache  
> effectively.  Hopefully, we’ll still work toward that ultimate  
> solution.  However, we deployed #2 and saw my admin account’s wait  
> time drop from 10+minutes to about 18 seconds.  Average users are  
> now 2-5 seconds tops.  Much, much better so far.
> Do you see any potential for problems if presentations are being  
> created from forms created through a matrix?  Mostly, I’d assume  
> that these forms would be located in the various Portfolio  
> Interaction folders, in the MW.  The one potential is for non- 
> matrix portfolios, you’d have to specify the need to store forms in  
> a folder in the MW rather than in a course drop box or resource area.
> Just thought I’d share our perspective on the issue.  Noah, please  
> feel free to detail out my all to0 non-tech-savvy description of  
> your patch and what it does!
> Marc Z
> -- 
> Marc Zaldivar,  
> Ph.D.                                                                  
> 2210A Torgersen Hall
> Director, Virginia Tech Electronic Portfolio Initiatives         
> Blacksburg, VA 24061-0292
> Learning  
> Technologies                                                           
>    540.231.8994
> Virginia  
> Tech                                                                   
>             marcz at vt.edu
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