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MIS Systems Thread, Speeding up SIMS in Technical; Missed the bit about SSD - agreed, irrelevant here. I'd put a hard upper limit on the SQL memory usage....
  1. #16

    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    Missed the bit about SSD - agreed, irrelevant here.

    I'd put a hard upper limit on the SQL memory usage.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Well, I'll do some tweaks tonight - reduce cores down, put a hard upper limit for RAM etc... And see what happens.

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    can anyone suggest a report to run so I can compare my sims server? (average report takes 8 seconds) client PC specs don't seem to matter.

  4. #19
    CAM
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    What part of the reports take the longest? Split it into two, data recovery and data formatting (yes I just made those up, bear with me!).

    Data recovery is the point where the client says to SIMS "I want this data" and SIMS goes and gets it. It will then get punted into Excel and a blank Excel window will appear and vanish.

    From this point on the client is doing the legwork and now into the data formatting stage. I've written VBA Macros and whilst editing them, noticed that SIMS uses a macro to assemble the data from a list of values into the sheet, formats data and adds borders. This is what it is doing whilst Excel is hidden and a new instance of Excel appears with your data once done.

    If the recovery stage is slow, you are probably seeing server issues. If the formatting stage is slow, it is probably the client.

    This is my interpretation of how reports are created but I think someone will correct me if I am barking up the wrong tree.

  5. Thanks to CAM from:

    vikpaw (8th May 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAM View Post
    This is my interpretation of how reports are created but I think someone will correct me if I am barking up the wrong tree.
    You're dead on with the Excel formatting, but I suspect there's a little more to it. Try running a report in SIMS.net in to Excel then run the same report in CommandReporter (if you set the output file extension as CSV, CR can do Excel too). It's significantly quicker via CR, suggesting SIMS.net is creating an inefficiency at some point in the chain.

    EDIT: CR actually creates a CSV which will obviously be slightly quicker than applying additional formatting, though it shouldn't take that much longer as it only does basic tasks like making the first row bold and some minor formatting - not a lot of additional data parsing done comapred to CSV
    Last edited by LosOjos; 8th May 2013 at 11:44 AM.

  7. #21

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    @jinnantonnixx, I'm having similar issues to @localzuk and I just ran the report code you gave. scheduler_id always has 0 runnable tasks (out of about 8 current), but if I run it several times over 30 seconds I will occasionally see scheduler 1 (with around 12 current tasks) having 1 runnable task. Is there cause for much concern there? This host has 8 cores, running 5 VMs (DC, file server, Exchange, print and SQL) and this SIMS VM is the only one with more than 1 vCPU (it has 2). 8GB RAM assigned, 16GB for Exchange, 2GB for each of the others.

  8. #22

    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ephelyon View Post
    @jinnantonnixx, I'm having similar issues to @localzuk and I just ran the report code you gave. scheduler_id always has 0 runnable tasks (out of about 8 current), but if I run it several times over 30 seconds I will occasionally see scheduler 1 (with around 12 current tasks) having 1 runnable task. Is there cause for much concern there? This host has 8 cores, running 5 VMs (DC, file server, Exchange, print and SQL) and this SIMS VM is the only one with more than 1 vCPU (it has 2). 8GB RAM assigned, 16GB for Exchange, 2GB for each of the others.
    Those figures look healthy.

  9. #23

    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    Fire up SQL Activity Monitor and look at the overiew
    SQL Server Management Studio>Right-click the server>Activity Monitor

    Activity monitor is a great tool for all us 'accidental DBAs'.

    Good starting point >>> SQL Server Reference Guide | Performance Monitoring Tools: SQL Server 2008 Activity Monitor | InformIT

    Activity Monitor
    Last edited by jinnantonnixx; 8th May 2013 at 12:18 PM.

  10. 3 Thanks to jinnantonnixx:

    Ecclesbury (8th May 2013), Ephelyon (8th May 2013), zag (8th May 2013)

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    @jinnantonnixx Those links are really useful, thanks for the tip.

    Time to go and ask management if I can add "accidental DBA" to my job description!

  12. #25

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    Dropping cores sounds like sound advice
    I would also look towards the application itself rather than the server. Easy test is to run the client on the server if you don't mind installing it there, i think most people do for testing.
    The re-index patch can help with data calls.

    Some reports, especially those with sub tables and filters on those tables do take an age. General rule of thumb is if you have to think for more than a few secs to understand the report description (pseudo SQL query) it generates when you design one, then the system will probably need a few seconds to process it.

    I wouldn't under estimate the data formatting part from @CAM 's analogy. It does write a temp .txt file to disk, then initiate Excel, run the macro, process it into a new file. It should be quick, but i bet it isn't.

    Can you monitor the local machine RAM usage? specifically how much the pulsar.exe process uses. Regardless of how much is free, i have a feeling that it gets 'heavy' and bloated, so once it's gets to a certain stage it burns out. We all know SIMS doesn't return the memory very well, i can imagine it might just hinder itself after doing a few memory heavy tasks.

    Is there any chance you're also competing with a network bottleneck somewhere?

    I remember the days when just clicking on assessment manager templates would take a few minutes for it to switch to that module and load the list of marksheets (at a previous school). Here i can't say it's ever had major issues.

    My client is very slow, Win 7 i5 x86 with 4GB, and often hangs, but once SIMS is active, it's actually pretty good despite that.

  13. Thanks to vikpaw from:

    TheScarfedOne (8th May 2013)

  14. #26

    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    Good point, Vik. It might be an error to overlook the client machines and to focus just on the server.

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    If you want a prolonged thrash of the database, modify the academic year (by placing a fake bank holiday somewhere in the future, for example) and then change it back again. Do this when no-one else is using SIMS.

  16. #28

    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    I found this very interesting talk (21 mins) about SQL and SSD. This is a must-view.

    SQL on SSDs: Hot and Crazy Love | Brent Ozar Unlimited
    Last edited by jinnantonnixx; 8th May 2013 at 02:54 PM.

  17. Thanks to jinnantonnixx from:

    matt40k (8th May 2013)

  18. #29

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    What do you mean by reports running slowly? Is it just reports? Can you share a copy of one of the reports

  19. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by jinnantonnixx View Post
    I found this very interesting talk (21 mins) about SQL and SSD. This is a must-view.

    SQL on SSDs: Hot and Crazy Love | Brent Ozar Unlimited
    Haha - very good point about SSD failures.

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