7 Replies Latest reply on Aug 16, 2012 11:51 AM by corkhia

    Difference in Speed for Importing Images on Different Networked Workstations - Any Thoughts as to Why?

    corkhia

      I am experiencing very different speeds for importing images when I switch between workstations and we cannot figure out why there is a difference from one machine to another. If anyone has experienced similar issues and found a solution, I would be very greatful for some insight as to what may be causing the varience between machines.

       

      Generally images (references only) are imported using the import folder script step from client machines running XP or Windows 7 and into a database hosted by FM v 12 Advanced server on a Windows server box running 2008 R2.

       

      For testing purposes, using the same process and the images eachtime (and deleting them afterwards), I see the import dialog counting down at very different increments depending on what machine I am working on. I cannot link the speed to the specification of the workstation (mine is a pretty good machine with lots of disk space and 8gb memory on Windows 7 and goes at slowish import rate of about 3 images at a time, whereas an older workstation thunders through imports at >30 images per increment). I have tested about 5 machines on our network and all appear to have different speeds (the slowest going at 1 image per increment, the fastest being 30 x that speed). The OS does not appear to be a factor. I have manually imported/mapped and this is the same speed - so it is not the script that is causing the issue.

       

      Has anyone identified anything similar or could point me towards any factors that might contribute to this behavior?

       

      Thanks!

       

      Alan

        • 1. Re: Difference in Speed for Importing Images on Different Networked Workstations - Any Thoughts as to Why?
          DrewTenenholz

          Alan --

           

          Given that the workstations are all pretty much the same, I'd suspect that the upload of images to your hosted file has to do with the network hardware.  Switches, cables, connectors, hubs, etc.  All are suspects.  Maybe the simplest thing to do is to swap the physical location of the fastest machine with the slowest.  If their performance is also interchanged, then the problem is in the wires/switches.  If it is hard to physically move the machines, you can also try swapping their physical connections in the switching 'closet'.

           

          You didn't actually say whether this is wired or wireless, I'm just assuming you have wires.

           

           

          Also, you say the images are stored "by reference".  Are you using the newest 'Managed Containers'?  If not, you really want to look into using them, since it is unclear from your description where the images files actually reside.  (I hope they aren't distributed across all of the workstations.)

           

          -- Drew Tenenholz

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          • 2. Re: Difference in Speed for Importing Images on Different Networked Workstations - Any Thoughts as to Why?
            corkhia

            Drew

             

            Many thanks for your thoughts. I will look into the managed containers as I

            haven't done anything with these since updating everything to v12. Thanks

            for the tip.

             

            The images reside on another server (also Windows 2008 R2) in our

            centralized job files.

             

            That is a great idea about physically relocating workstations and seeing

            what happens. My sense was that it had something to do with switches (or

            other obscure network bits that I know zero about) and not the individual

            workstations, since my machine suddenly took a speed hit after our IT

            consultants installed monthly patches/updates. It has been difficult to get

            them to seek a solution and their answer is to automatically blame

            Filemaker (that they do not offer support on).

             

            Again thank you so much for the great ideas. I will post any advancement

            made towards a successful solution.

             

            Alan

            • 3. Re: Difference in Speed for Importing Images on Different Networked Workstations - Any Thoughts as to Why?
              Stephen Huston

              I've seen this kind of variation among workstations with small networks where we could pin things down to some hardware such as the quality/speed of the internal tework cards on the different machines. A generational change in the network card can be enough to to speed things up by multiples.

               

              Another factor is whether an individual workstation has email, browsers, and other network connections open, all sharing bandwidth and taking their toll even when they are hidden or background operations.

               

              If you have a slow network card and have a lot of background network stuff running on a workstation, you can get slowdowns based on the card speed difference X the number of network access operations running on that station. The multiples pile up quickly.

               

              At then there's still the other exteranl network hardware already under consideration. These factors can all build on each other when  more than one of them is a bottleneck.

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Difference in Speed for Importing Images on Different Networked Workstations - Any Thoughts as to Why?
                corkhia

                Thanks Stephen - I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experience on

                this issue.

                 

                The fastest machine is certainly the one that probably has the least

                additional operations happening on it - as I use it for testing and hence

                it tends to only have one single main application running at a time. I will

                look into this and see if I can narrow it down.

                 

                Thanks Alan

                • 5. Re: Difference in Speed for Importing Images on Different Networked Workstations - Any Thoughts as to Why?
                  corkhia

                  We have been investigating further and have yet to track this speed difference issue down, but something new came up that seemed to potentially invalidate my original thought that it was a network related issue.

                   

                  This was because occassionally I have to copy the database(s) over to a laptop so that they can be used out of the office in a disconnected state. I move the images over to the local drive and then update their referenced locations by re-importing the photos to the new local directory with all of the network cabling unplugged. I am not using v12 managed storage containers yet.

                   

                  Normally, it takes a while before the field mapping dialog comes up, but once mapping is set, the process is lightening fast and typically import is complete (to say 12,000 images) within a could of seconds.

                   

                  However, the last time I performed this operation, the same slow speed issue occurred with image importation - with it having slowed down to about 3 per increment. I cannot fathom what could have made this change, but it seems that this is not a client/server problem as I had originally thought.

                   

                  Again I appreciate the insights aleady given and would welcome any further thoughts.

                   

                  Alan

                  • 6. Re: Difference in Speed for Importing Images on Different Networked Workstations - Any Thoughts as to Why?
                    Mike_Mitchell

                    Alan -

                     

                    To jump in here a bit - have you checked the thumbnail settings on the database? If you're creating the thumbnails on the fly (i.e., thumbnail creation is set to "temporary"), it might be having an effect. Alternatively, if the images are different, and you're using permanent thumbnail storage, the first time the image is loaded, it'll create thumbnails, which will slow things down; after that, the images might load faster.

                     

                    Just something to check. Off the top of my head.

                     

                    Mike

                    • 7. Re: Difference in Speed for Importing Images on Different Networked Workstations - Any Thoughts as to Why?
                      corkhia

                      Mike

                       

                      Thanks for your input.

                       

                      I have not used the manage containers feature before and the thumbnail generation was indeed it was set to 'temporary'. I switched off  thumbnail generation and retried the import but it made no discernable difference in the import speed.

                       

                      BUT - what it did lead me to think about was a mapping that I had across to a thumbs container that I have in the db (but in fact never use). I re-mapped my script step to exclude an import to the thumbs container and this indeed corrected all of the speed differences between the different network workstations and the slow local import on the laptop. Even the slowest of the workstations now imports 300 photos without barely blinking.

                       

                      So the speed difference problem seems to be in the method that is called up by the thumb generation and I assume that this must be some utility that exists on the local machine and accessed by Filemaker? Since the speed differences used to come and then sometimes correct itself, I assume that whatever utility is used is subject to patching or updates and that is what affects performance? As you can tell, I know little about this subject technically and maybe someone with better knowledge can give a better and more authoritive explanation.

                       

                      But thank you everyone for your input in helping identify the cause of this issue.

                       

                      Alan