3 Replies Latest reply on Jul 23, 2009 10:41 AM by PeterWagemans

    Server files opening slower and slower



      Server files opening slower and slower

      Description of the issue

      As the complexity of solutions at customer sites increases, more and more external references are made between the files on the server, even when these files contain multiple tables and are already quite independant. Linking tables externally is sometimes part of the backup strategy as well. I noticed that more external references mean an EXPONENTIAL increase in the time it takes to open all files on the server.Taking a sample of the server process teaches me that the server is trying to find and probably link stuff, but apparantly it's not doing this very effectively. At some customer sites, we are at a half hour opening time for about 100 files. A few months ago, that was still 20 minutes for the same amount of files. I'm starting to get worried. I've experimented a bit with external references, but the results are not very conclusive. I've tried "file:" type references, and "fmnet:" type references with hard coded IP addresses.One thing is for sure. When you have openened files with some external references, any subsequent opening of other files, even very simple ones, will be significantly slower.So it seems like FileMaker is matching any external references it already has in all opened files against the file it is opening. And not doing a very good job if I may say so.For example: Open 1 file on the server that has 10 external references defined. Then open 99 other files that do not even have tables in them. The first 10 open instantly, the last one takes more than a second to open. Try the same thing without step 1, and notice the difference. Not a big deal, but imagine you have 2 files with some external references open, it would take double that time + the time for the 2nd file itself. There's probably a fancy formula that can be made here. The time increases when more and more external refs are added to files , and the increase in time is not linear. We will probably be forced RSN to split the files over several servers, not because of any server limitation, but simply the opening time of the files. If anyone knows a way to make files open faster on the server - I would be eternaly obliged...:-)I thought about posting this in the Server forum, but when I come to think about it, it's probably a bug that can be fixed. 

        • 1. Re: Server files opening slower and slower

          Do you open files that much ? I don't know why it can b an issue, The server is left open for weeks without restart in my deployement.


          But anyway, what's your setup ? OS ?


          I would suggest faster disk, like SSD, if you've mac os and some memory you can try with a ram disk to see if this helps. Backups time were much much faster with the files hosted on a ram disk (but I've never looked at opening speed)


          Also, what are the file size, I've a 700MB file and this one gets some time to open 

          • 2. Re: Server files opening slower and slower


            Glitchtracker, many customers have the very sound policy of restarting their servers once per month. 

            This problem is also independant of the OS. It is reproduceable on both MacOS and Windows. It's reproduceable on any setup.


            I have been thorougly examining this behaviour, and noticed that during the opening of the files, the disk is not accessed at all. So slow or fast disk have no influence on this problem.


            I know that file size is also a factor for the opening time of a file, but these long opening times are entirely caused by external references, and these long opening times can be reproduced using small files only.


            Thanks for trying to help, but I don't think you realize the extend of this problem. If e.g. a company is depending on the files (20/24) and a server restart takes about 45 minutes and getting longer every time they do it, it becomes something VERY annoying. So we're not opening files that mutch. I hope you understand that in some cases it WILL become an issue if its going to take even more time.


            This is something fairly easy to reproduce, so please take the time to that first. 


            • 3. Re: Server files opening slower and slower

              Just to make things easy to test: here is a little archive with 10 files. Every file has 1 table, with 1 field Every file is identical. I randomly made a number of external links to the other files, and added a few relations. Nothing complex - at least not as complex as many solutions running at customer sites.


              Unzip the archive and copy the files on a test server. Duplicate them 10 times, you'll have 100 files. Then open them from the admin console.

              The first ones open quite fast, then opening performance degrades more and more.

              The total time for these files is still acceptable, but like I said, the setup is rather basic. In a more complex setup things take A LOT longer.


              Hopefully this documents the problem enough.