Out of the pit

05/01/2009

We’ve been stuck with an infrastructure upgrade to our web-to-print system for months now, but there is a bit of light at the end of this long dark tunnel.

Bug fixes and minor updates

A few old (and new) bugs were fixed in the last few days. Error pages were all messed up, permalinks didn’t always show correctly, non-Latin letters were getting into user-friendly URLs, etc. About 20 bugs were fixed today alone.

Several areas got minor improvements that you may or may not notice.

The most notable update is the change to how optional web-to-print template features are handled.

They used to be all optional and users kept missing them. Now users have to make a choice from the list, unless the list contains a blank option (nothing). The value is not cached in the DB, meaning that they have to make a choice for every order.

Infrastructure preview

Our architecture is based on a small cluster of computers. We had a reasonably reliable application cluster for all the image and vector processing, but the DB and web servers were not flexible enough to grow beyond a certain size. We reached that size back in September 2008. Now the main problems are behind and new web and file servers can be added as needed. It is as easy as slipping a new box in the rack. Still quite a few things to iron out before checking this off as “done”.

Performance and missing files

We keep “loosing” files from time to time. They may disappear for a few seconds, a few minutes or a few hours. Approximately 10 files were affected today, which is a fraction of a fraction of a percent of daily volumes, but still, it is not acceptable. We are working on this elusive problem and your help will be greatly appreciated – just tell us that something’s missing as soon as possible.

Peak hour performance can be slightly degraded. We run on 1/2 the power of the database. It was OK for low traffic over holidays, but it started picking up today. We need few more days before the DB servers are back into full swing.

Thanx everyone for your patience with us!

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