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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Page address: https://www.mnsu.edu/news/read/?id=old-1219758871&paper=its

ISRS Fall Readiness Information

Preparations to ensure a smooth transition into the Fall semester

Here is the latest information about plans, recommendations to avoid system slowdowns during peak usage times, and system upgrades.

2008-08-26

Please read through to get the latest information about plans, recommendations to avoid system slowdowns during peak usage times, and system upgrades.

FALL READINESS PLAN

The Fall Readiness Project Team has been working for several months to prepare for fall startup. Some of the items completed that will provide for a better ISRS experience include:

  • New load test environment and methodology for ISRS has been created, allowing ITS to predict Uniface load for the first time and providing better testing in web applications.
  • Initial production ISRS database server configured
  • New system has 2 servers configured as follows:
    • ISRS Main Application Database – 16 x 1.8GHZ dual core (32 cores) CPUs with 64GB of memory.
    • ISRS Replicated Reporting Database – 8 x 1.8GHZ dual core (16 cores) CPUs with 32GB of memory.
  • Added remaining boards to database server supporting APPL production database.
  • Investigated and resolved Solaris NUMA settings for database server supporting APPL production database instance.
  • Moved Oracle archive logs to separate LUNS' (prep for ISRS database restructuring)

RECOMMENDATIONS TO AVOID SLOW DOWNS

Since certain processes create heavy demands on the system, we are asking users to help by planning ahead, and using some strategies that will reduce the peak demand.
 

  • Perform major processes, such as processing financial aid checks, during off-peak hours.
  • Run batch jobs and reports during off-peak hours.
  • Perform only those jobs and processes that are absolutely necessary during startup dates.

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

Past experience has shown that during the fall/peak usage time, users become understandably frustrated when the system performance is slow and they are unable to perform routine tasks. The worst case scenario would be a system so slow that no one is able to use it. Avoiding this situation is essential so contingency plans have been developed to maintain core system functionality during fall startup.

CONTINGENCY PLAN

In an effort to pro-actively head off performance issues, activities have been identified that have slowed down response time for users in the past. The contingency plan is to carefully monitor the system and if performance levels dip unacceptably low, immediate and appropriate action will be taken to ensure that the system remains functioning at an acceptable level. Much like rush hour traffic, systems that are adequate 98% of the time may become slow during peak usage. One strategy is avoiding the freeway during rush hour unless absolutely necessary and another is to prohibit time-consuming actions like left turns between certain time periods. These strategies help to increase performance or capacity.

The contingency plan and recommendations for fall startup include similar strategies to avoid congestion and slowdowns in the ISRS system. The primary objective is to keep the ISRS system available to users. Email announcements will be made if any functionality experiences challenges.

A change freeze has also been implemented for all ISRS and D2L related applications and interfaces from August 10th to September 14th. This means there will be no code deploys, patches of hotfixes on Oracle, RDB, COBOL, J2EE or D2L without written approval.

USAGE EXPECTATIONS

Usage has historically peaked at the beginning of fall semester and has remained high during the first five days of the semester. Other peak usage periods occur at certain times of the day and night, such as from 9 AM to 3 PM and 7 PM to 10 PM. Usage data has shown that during peak usage times, performance levels can diminish, affecting users with slower response times and in some cases, tasks that time out and fail to complete.

Analysis of the tasks that are most resource-intensive has shown that larger reports, batch jobs and major processes create significant drag on the system. Scheduling these tasks for non-peak hours is an excellent standard practice during fall startup and throughout the year.


Thank you,


MNSCU ISRS HELP DESK
Integrated Statewide Record System
MN State Colleges & Universities

To submit new ISRS incidents:
http://itsmnscu.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/itsmnscu.cfg/php/enduser/entry.php

Please call us for your userid and password if you don't already have one.

For ITS support services:
Phone: 877-GO MNSCU (877-466-6728)

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