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MIS Systems Thread, Eportal Schools Please help in Technical; Hi I was wondering if anyone can advise on the problems my school is facing We have had facility and ...
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    Eportal Schools Please help

    Hi

    I was wondering if anyone can advise on the problems my school is facing

    We have had facility and Eportal from Serco for about 3 years and have had nothing but problems.

    Facility works fine most of the time but with eportal we find it is very unresponsive and very slow.

    We have spent a considerable amount on our backbone network putting in cat6 truenet gigabit, the server we have for our MIS is a dedicated HP proliant server which runs Server 2003. It a single xeon processor with 3.5gb ram.

    It seems that eportals struggles with many users on the system. On facility its fine but when a few are on eportal we suffer slow logons, hanging, and other related items to the slowness. The server usage is fine, it processor and memory are low.

    I would like to know if similar schools have these types of problems with their eportals and if their local lea or support has suggested any improvements, also if anyone has a good contact at Serco I would be most grateful.

    Please help this poor ranger.

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    Re: Eportal Schools Please help

    Are you running SQL, Facility and E-portal all off that one server?

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    Re: Eportal Schools Please help

    Have had eportal issues. Have recentley moved it to a seperate server to see what happens (we've now got facility+sql on one server, eportal on the other although we might move facility itself to one of the fileservers).

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    Re: Eportal Schools Please help

    We have Facility and SQL on one beefy server and ePortal on another. We have up to 80 members of staff logged into ePortal doing registration on the hour every hour. We hardly have any problems at all.

    If we do have the odd problem, a quick restart of the services and everything is fine.

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    Re: Eportal Schools Please help

    Yes we have SQL, Facility and eportal on one server. We did move eportal to another server to see if that would address issues, but it didnt.

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    Re: Eportal Schools Please help

    we are in Birmingham also,
    i beleive its a result of poorly written code, basically its a memory leak?

    do you run it on IIS or apache?

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    Re: Eportal Schools Please help

    I have recently become involved with eportal (we have a data manager who normally deals with it) since it was decided to move eportal to a virtual environment.

    The problem is indeed a memory leak, however it is nothing to do with apache or iis. The web servers only deliver the html and images and tomcat delivers the java application. The problem with eportal is the poorly written Facility Data Service that runs on the eportal server. We have enourmous problems with eportal, with nearly 200 staff.

    The Facility data service starts at about 80MB but I've seen this use in excess of 500MB and growing. I have also been monitoring the number of page faults that this process accumulates (task manager>processess> view > select colums). The number of page faults roughly indicates how badly a program is written. Facility data service is shocking. When running certain reports, I've seen 2million page faults occur in a minute - completely overloading the system. Were using 2.73 (so missed the last lot of live alpha testing), I'd like to know if the latest version has improved.

    What I would like to know is why the facility data service is even there, surely it is an added complication and it would be better for the web application to communicate directly to the sql server - as is the case with the majority of web applications?

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    Re: Eportal Schools Please help

    We've had problem after problem after problem with e-portal in our school. At the moment we seem to have a relatively stable system compared to what it was, but we have had virtually all the problems listed above at some point.

    We still have to restart the services fairly regularly, but this is something we've always had to do. We're using version 2.80 of the product, and can tell you it's not any more stable than the last version, infact initially it was at lot worse!

    We're now running E-Portal on its own box, it's a 2.4GHz xenon with 3GB ram. We're using apache to serve it as we've found this to be quicker, and also address the server by its IP number insted of the DNS name, we've found this helps, even though there's no logical reason for it, it seemed to make a huge difference on our system.

    Apparently there is a new release scheduled for the end of this month that's supposed to fix the issues in the 2.80 release.

    By the way, we've found a guy called Michael Sanderson at Serco to be exceedingly helpful and very patient. He also is one of the few that appears to fully understand the system and the technology behind it, so you can get some good advice from him. Don't all call him at once thou!

    mike.

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    Re: Eportal Schools Please help

    I know the memory leak has nothing to do with APache or IIS we just found IIS much faster than Apache?>

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    Re: Eportal Schools Please help

    We've got ePortal here and it works OK performance wise now. We run it on it's own high spec server with the CMIS database is on another machine. We use IIS. We've also setup a script that stops the services and restarts them at 3am every night when even the hardcore remote access users have gone to bed.

    The thing we've realised is that their "Recommended Spec" is probably the minimum requirements because of the need to compensate for the inefficient software.

    Joe

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    Re: Eportal Schools Please help

    We have had a lot of problems with eportal in the past - Link2ICT having to reinstall it with increasing regularity.

    Since the IIS version things have improved drastically. We have run it on its own very beefy server virtually from day one and it made little difference (other than the memory leak taking longer to take the server down than it was on a smaller server).

    I think the data service is there because eportal needs to pre-build a lot of the data rather than pull it out live because it would take to long to do on the fly. This would explain why sometimes it takes 24 hours for changes like usernames and passwords to kick in.

    Having played with the data in CMIS a little, it is very difficult to pull out lots of data quickly because it is spread out over so many different tables and not always stored in the easiest format to drag it out - particularly the assessment data.

    The latest release (yes - the cursed SLASC one) does actually seem the best yet, apart form a couple of minor issues.

    In short I would recommend beefy split servers, iis and the latest version (with another one coming soon, or so they say).

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    Re: Eportal Schools Please help

    I takes 24hrs for a username change to kick in as the service restarts automatically every night now. If you manually do this it should pick them up instantly.

    From experience it's alway better to stop/wait/start rather than a restart of the service.

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    Re: Eportal Schools Please help

    I think the data service is there because eportal needs to pre-build a lot of the data rather than pull it out live because it would take to long to do on the fly.
    So the badly written data service is there to compensate for the badly written database! and on top of this we get to alpha test it for them, whilst paying through the nose - what a quagmire :twisted:

    ...awaits the day govt/LEA's wake up and spend a fraction of Sercos/Capitas cashcow on developing schooltool etc

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    Re: Eportal Schools Please help

    Two things you can try are a daily scheduled task to restart the services and a weekly clear out of the Admin audit log.

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