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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Slow performance by Moodle in Technical; We have been experiencing some speed issues with out Moodle VLE. We have been using it for 5 years now ...
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    mansin's Avatar
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    Unhappy Slow performance by Moodle

    We have been experiencing some speed issues with out Moodle VLE.

    We have been using it for 5 years now and since then it has had a new server and is on the latest version on Moodle. Its developed by one of our IT teachers.

    In peak usage it grinds to a halt when uploading and downloading files. Its usually okay during off peak, until recently that even during off peak its very slow.

    Its plugged into a gigport and we still have the old Moodle server which is used for testing. We put a small speedtest tool on both servers and tested the speed, the old one is superfast and new one is very slow - This is during off peak as well.

    Is it Moodle itself (software) or can I do some other test on the network/server to see whats going on?

    Thanks

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    You have a bottleneck somewhere in the system. This could be a configuration error or a hardware/software issue. Is this a Linux install? or a Windows machine?

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    Assuming you didn't go really cheap on the new server hardware and your network kit is ok.....

    I suspect there's something off with the setup on the new server - the old version will likely have the OS, Webserver, PHP, SQL and Moodle tuned for performance, whereas the new one might not.

    Tell us what you're using:

    New vs old hardware spec?
    Operating System?
    Webserver?
    PHP version?
    PHP cache used?
    Moodle versions?
    SQL Versions and any tuning?

    Use apache bench or similar to gauge initial performance between the old and new servers (in the apache2-utils package on Linux): i.e.

    Code:
    ab -c5 -n100 http://oldmoodleserver/tag/search.php > oldserverresults.txt
    ab -c5 -n100 http://newmoodleserver/tag/search.php > newserverresults.txt
    Chrome's web dev tools is useful for a item-by-item network speed log:

    Screen shot 2012-01-19 at 10.35.25.png

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    mansin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    You have a bottleneck somewhere in the system. This could be a configuration error or a hardware/software issue. Is this a Linux install? or a Windows machine?
    Hi Geoff. Its on Windows Server 2003 standard. The new version of Moodle went on the new server, so couldn't say if old version worked well or not on the new server.

    I have even tried basic file tranfer (using a little applicatiopn called "RichCopy 4.0"), 525mb in size, to and from both the OLD server and the NEW server. And on BOTH occasions the speeds were similar, faster by 10 seconds on the NEW server.

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    mrverrall's Avatar
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    Hi mansin,

    To give any really helpful feedback we'll need the answers to Pete questions above. However if I was to take a best guess I'd suggest that the new server has not been tuned correctly for the resources available, namely the database and any PHP accelerator you may be using. You'll find that linux packages (if indeed you are running linux) come with configs designed to work with any hardware. At LUNS we use Debian with PostgreSQL databases and Apache2 with php-apc for caching. The package defaults in Debian are hopeless for the sort of hardware spec we run and so need some modification. I've cherry picked a few posts by one of our Devs on the moodle.org forums which may be helpful, other that that we'll need to wait and find out what your set up is ) It would also be good to know what your server resources are up to, i.e. are you CPU, I/O (disk) or network bound?

    Check these out...
    Using Moodle: moodle system going down/getting stuck very often
    Using Moodle: Number of concurrent users supported

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    Quote Originally Posted by mansin View Post
    Hi Geoff. Its on Windows Server 2003 standard.
    Well that is me stumped then! You could always move to a hosted solution ;o)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrverrall View Post
    Well that is me stumped then! You could always move to a hosted solution ;o)
    Hi. Would hosted solution really work for us. Moodle is used heavily here, lots of resources (powerpoints, docs, videos). Would our 8M internet connection (due to go to 100M soon) be enough?

    Any ideas how much hosting costs typically or who to go to?

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    It's important to understand how your teachers use moodle. For example do teachers generate content while in school or do they do the bulk of their vle work from home. If it's the latter then a hosted solution will probably end up actually being quicker. This is also an important port for you pupil experience, a hosted solution will almost certainly be quicker as it should be hosted in a datacentre with a decent backbone (e.g. 1Gbps here). At LUNS we ran a LA hosted moodle solutions for ~1000 schools (~250k users) and the upstream bandwidth (content bringing pushed to us) rarely exceeded 10M so I don't think your bandwidth is an issue in that regards.

    There are plenty of companies out there who can provider a hosted moodle solution. At LUNS our packages are based on the number of learners.

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    Who set up Moodle on the new server? Did they document it? Did they compare the configurations between old and new to ensure they didn't miss anything?

    Did they (for example) ensure all the links in the content are pointing to the correct (new) server?

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Was the old server a Windows box too?

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    mansin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    Who set up Moodle on the new server? Did they document it? Did they compare the configurations between old and new to ensure they didn't miss anything?

    Did they (for example) ensure all the links in the content are pointing to the correct (new) server?
    Its always been the same version and he does know his programming. But I have asked him to take a at the setup just in case there is something messing it up.

    Googling the issue yesterday and I came across these two articles:

    Free Technology Tutorials » Moodle 2 — Still a Disaster!

    Free Technology Tutorials » “Moodle 2.02 runs dead slow”

    I am not sure how much of it true, but it seem to reflect our case. I have passed these on to the developer as well. Like I say he is also an IT teacher and Moodle developer full on.

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    It's worth pointing out that a properly tuned Moodle + Underlying OS can run perfectly well on modest hardware. Much of my experience is of running it on Linux, however.

    The performance recommendations page is worth a read - though it's very Linux-centric.

    Performance recommendations - MoodleDocs

    When you say "same version", do you mean same major release, or do you mean "he hasn't upgraded it or installed any patches ever?". There were a lot of performance fixes for 2.0.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    It's worth pointing out that a properly tuned Moodle + Underlying OS can run perfectly well on modest hardware. Much of my experience is of running it on Linux, however.

    The performance recommendations page is worth a read - though it's very Linux-centric.

    Performance recommendations - MoodleDocs

    When you say "same version", do you mean same major release, or do you mean "he hasn't upgraded it or installed any patches ever?". There were a lot of performance fixes for 2.0.
    Hi Pete, I mean't to say same "person", two very different things.

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    Moodle under high usage can really slow down when you have theme designer mode turned on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold_99 View Post
    Moodle under high usage can really slow down when you have theme designer mode turned on.
    Thats very interesting. There is a theme on ours that matches the schools website.
    Last edited by mansin; 20th January 2012 at 09:35 AM.

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