[Deploying Sakai] [Building Sakai] Solaris Architecture Affects Performance?

Branden Visser branden at uwindsor.ca
Wed Jan 27 14:08:29 PST 2010

mizematr at notes.udayton.edu wrote:
> 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:

In the past, our appserver cluster has been a split between T2000's and 
a T5120. I didn't run benchmarks to pit them against each other, but our 
load-balancer consistently favoured the tomcat instances on the T5120, 
which is a sign that it is yielding a quicker response. Besides, they're 
both sun4v, so I guess it's a bit irrelevant.

Did you happen to spit out the GC work a-la:

-verbose:gc -XX:+PrintGCTimeStamps -XX:+PrintGCDetails 
-XX:+PrintTenuringDistribution -Xloggc:$CATALINA_HOME/logs/gclog.out

? This could give some leads if the garbage collectors are simply 
reacting differently and causing more pauses.


> 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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