Michael Sat Feb 9 16:46:38 2002|
Rumors of my death
Anyway, last Sunday one of the server processes on my box (yes, the one which serves up Techspex.com, my most stable customer contract, at six years and counting) started ... not answering. I'd restart it, and it would go for an hour or so, then ... not answer any more. Since I'd just made some changes, I figured that was it. It wasn't (undid all of them and it still did that). So there were a couple of getting-bigger-and-maybe-pushing-it kinds of numbers here and there on the machine. Fixed them all. Didn't help.
By this point, two days had passed, with me restarting the server process every hour or so. The restart takes five minutes or so, so I didn't want to do it unless the process had actually locked up (like on a timer or something). Every time I thought I'd had it fixed, and Monday night I even was completely convinced and slept ten hours(!) -- only to get a somewhat apologetic call from the customer the next morning that, no, it wasn't fixed.
So I bit the bullet. The site (as is Vivtek) was running on AOLserver 2.1 against an Illustra database. This was cutting-edge technology in 1994, and when I got to it in late 1996, it was still pretty damned cutting edge. But AOLserver has moved on, to 3.4.2 at last count, and of course Illustra, while feature-laden, was never something you could tune or troubleshoot very well. They got bought out by Informix in '99 or so, and good riddance to'em.
My plan had been to upgrade the site to AOL3.x anyway, and switch to MySQL. Needless to say, I was anticipating this move with some serious trepidation, as there is a *lot* of code I would have to change .... but the server made the decision for me. And now it's almost done. I haven't slept much this week, but by GOD I can't let my own server push me around.
Fortunately, I had another server set up with Solaris 2.8 Intel, running AOLserver 3.2 -- that much worked. And I follow the lists, so I had a nice lead on a MySQL driver, and I'd been putzing around with MySQL anyway in preparation for a database switch.
So anyway, at Techspex we'd been wrestling with unbelievable performance problems -- due to organizational difficulties, we had been unable to address them. Now we had no choice. And now, the database queries I've already converted are ticking along at sub-second response when they used to take upwards of 10 seconds, some of them. It's flat-out eerie.
I may not have slept this week, and my customer may have been reeeeeally nervous, but damn are they happy now! MySQL rocks. Just wanted to share that with y'all. Emsworth, Tirdun, this explains why I haven't even managed to get your contributed episodes up. I had no time to do *anything* but address these issues. And now I'm going to cook me up a big batch of chili.