[Deploying Sakai] Solaris Architecture Affects Performance?

mizematr at notes.udayton.edu mizematr at notes.udayton.edu
Tue Jan 26 08:17:37 PST 2010

We recently completed a year long process to migrate our users off of 
WebCT CE 4.1 and onto Sakai 2.6.1.  The transition went well and for the 
most part, our Faculty and Students are very happy with Sakai, but there 
has been one complaint:  "Sakai seems slower than WebCT."  At first we 
didn't take this too seriously, figuring it was a relative thing and users 
would soon become used to it, but as we looked into it, we found that our 
instance of Sakai was not just slower than our instance of WebCT, it was 
slower than instances of Sakai at other schools in the community.  We've 
been working on this problem for the past several months, and believe we 
have finally found a major part of the problem, the Solaris architecture.

When we bought a box for our Sakai installation, we bought one of the 
latest and greatest Solaris machines at the time, a Sun Blade T6300 and we 
think this is the problem.  One of our Solaris admins found a report that 
some applications cannot leverage the architecture of the T6300 and will 
in fact run slower on the new architecture over the older architecture. We 
setup two test machines on the older architectures and repeatedly loaded a 
gradebook with 50 students and 44 columns, with these findings:

Hostname:       sakaitest
Database:       Oracle, sktest
uname -m:       sun4v
Median Speed:   4.46s

Hostname:       kaylee
Database:       Oracle, sktest
uname -m:       sun4u
Median Speed:   2.71s

Hostname:       river
Database:       Oracle, sktest
uname -m:       i86pc
Median Speed:   1.50s

So, my questions are:

Has anyone else seen behavior like this?
Are we just missing a setting for Java on the sun4v chipset?
Solaris schools, what kind of architecture are you running?

Any information/thoughts would be much appreciated.
Matt Mize, Systems Administrator
 - Pay no attention to the man in the back office....
Matt.Mize at notes.udayton.edu
(937) 229-1024

UDit Department, University of Dayton
300 College Park, Dayton, OH, 45469-1302
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