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Tim Stephenson (Archant IS)

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Everything posted by Tim Stephenson (Archant IS)

  1. [quote]Tim, I'm sorry, but in todays world of more and more people using alternative browsers to IE, just to stick your head in the sand is madness. It would be a bit like an engine manufacturer refusing to ...[/quote] Eslier I'll refer you to my last post, and to other threads discussing the forums on this site. There's no point or business benefit in doing any work to improve support for alternative browsers on this particular piece of software, as it's about to be replaced. For your information, our forum installation cannot be easily migrated as there 170 other sites sharing the forums with tightly coupled integration with other core systems. It's unfortunately not quite as straightforward as a single site with a simple forum engine. Our traffic levels also tend to complicate everything we do on the web as it has to be load tested to ensure the system can withstand extreme peaks in web traffic. The lack of Firefox support has got nothing to do with sticking heads in the sand. When this forum was first commissioned Firefox didn't have any market share, and the vast majority of our target audience was running Internet Explorer. Consequently it simply wasn't a priority. Today however it's a rather different situation, which is why our new forum system has improved support for non-IE browsers. Most of our development team here (including me) run Firefox in preference to IE, and although some aspects of the site might not behave the same way as in IE, the key functionality certainly works ok in both browsers. I hope this clarifies the situation
  2. I'm afraid there's little we can do about non IE browser support on this version of the software. However, we're making good progress through our rolling forum upgrade plan, and you can see the new forum system live on some of our larger sites: EDP24 The Pinkun
  3. Apologies The translated version: We're getting there, and hopefully everything will be sorted (and running nice and quickly all the time) by the end of the week!
  4. All, Firstly - thanks for your comments and ongoing patience! As an update we have had a few hurdles to climb this weekend, but the end is fortunately now in sight. Although we're still running on a single Windows 2003/IIS6 web server (and hence still subject to the odd out of memory error as it's now a very busy machine), as of 5 minutes ago our F5 loadbalancers have been successfully rebuilt, and we're in the process of configuring the 3 webservers prior to bringing them online. At this point the traffic will be distributed among multiple machines, which should eliminate spurious memory problems as the load on each machine will be greatly reduced. We have a few configuration synchronisation issues to resolve first, but we're aiming to be in a position to bring these machines back online by the end of the week. Regards
  5. Unfortunately our upgrade over the weekend didn't quite go to plan. All our webservers have been upgraded but the loadbalancers (without which we can't bring the upgraded servers into service) have refused to come back online after an OS update. We're currently working with F5 (the vendor concerned) to resolve the problems and get all systems back online. Until then we may see a few more of these out of memory errors while we work through the problems. Regards
  6. [quote]Forum Admin,This morning I repeatedly was given the welcome message of server error in application/out of memory and I still cannot open the control panel[/quote] This should be resolved later today when our other 3 webservers come back on stream running Windows 2003/IIS6. We're currently running on a single server, which although able to cope with our current levels of traffic seems to need more memory than it's current 3Gb. Unfortunately this seems to result in the occasional out of memory type error while it manages the load to keep everything running. The other machines are currently being rebuilt, and once back online will enable the load to be shared across 4 servers rather than one.
  7. To follow this up, please bear with us for the next day or so while we continue to tune IIS6 under production loads. You may get a handful of "out of memory" errors for the rest of this week but these should disappear over the weekend.
  8. With the exception of ongoing issues with this forum's search (which is the main reason it's about to be replaced) the vast majority of the performance and stability issues have been resolved. Part of the problem has been that although you are only using this forum website, the same forum system is actually shared across 150 other websites - some with forums considerably larger than anything on this site. (See the Pinkun site at www.pinkun.com for an example with 80k posts in one forum). Unfortunately the current software simply cannot handle the level of traffic it's being exposed to, which has led to the issues observed on here and other sites. To give you an idea of scale, these sites generate something in the region of 60Gb of traffic a day, or around 2Tb of traffic over an average month. It's unfortunately not an infrastructure problem, but a software problem. The underlying infrastructure is able to comfortably handle the current levels of traffic, with plenty of excess capacity. To resolve these issues we're in the final stages of testing a new, more scalable forum system, which will replace the current system and has been successfully tested to limits well beyond predicted growth levels over the next few years. I know this has been talked about for a few months, but unfortunately it does take time to implement, test and migrate to new systems. It wouldn't really be much of a problem if the system was only handling one forum with a few hundred or thousand posts but it does become more of a problem when you start talking about 80 sets of forums with 100's of thousands of posts.
  9. We've seen some problems with the Norton Internet Security / Anti Virus, and some recent versions of Mcafee Anti Virus products that try to filter javascript from pages. In some cases these products don't distinguish between potentially "bad" code, and that which is required to run a website. As this is something on the end user's machines all I can suggest is that you try disabling any client side blocking products (Mcafee/Norton etc.) and see if it helps. If you're unsure how to do this, please consult the product's help facility as the instructions needed will differ between products.
  10. [quote]WELL IF ARCHANT IS CONNECTED WITH ARCHANT SPECIALIST LTD. WHO I BELIEVE ARE INVOLVED WITH MAGAZINE SUBSCIPTIONS THEN GOD HELP YOU. A MORNING'S DELAY IS NOTHING COMPARED TO MY WIFE STILL WAITING FOR HE...[/quote] Ab, Subscriptions for Specialist are actually handled by a 3rd party company. You can contact them via email ([email protected]) or phone 01858 438861. You'll probably need to provide your address or any references received when placing the order. Regards
  11. Alan, if you can post details of your operating system, web browser, firewall etc. then someone may be able to assist. The recent topics function seems to be working fine in IE6 and Firefox, so maybe there's something on your computer that's stopping it from working properly? (javascript blocker ?)
  12. [quote]But I still can't see any names or control panel.[/quote] What sort of computer are you using, and what web browser software? Both names & control panels are appearing quite happy on Firefox at the moment...
  13. [quote]To-day's responses seem to be almost instant!![/quote] Thanks for posting - we normally only hear when someone's not happy! Cheers,
  14. Unfortunately our webservers don't appear to be on our side at the moment. To resolve some problems with inconsistent content replication between multiple web servers (if anyone's interested, Google "NTFRS"), we're currently in the process of relocating all content from storage locally attached to each web server to a high capacity centralised filer. While this has solved the file replication issues that have been causing things like disappearing CSS, it's uncovered a new set of performance & configuration issues with the filer. Tuning these for our kind of traffic volume is a bit of a black art, and essentially requires plenty of patience and trial & error. In a nut shell, you make some estimates concerning file server load; configure the web servers & filer appropriately; monitor the situation to see if things get better or worse; adjust the settings appropriately and repeat until everything reaches a suitable level of stability. In the age old fashion things may get a little worse before they get better, but the situation will be improving over the course of the morning. Regards
  15. Thanks Ron. You're right - we currently run database backups and consistency checks between 1-3am GMT. The way SQL Server 2000 handles these is to lock the tables to ensure that nothing changes during the operation, which seems to have a particularly negative impact on this forum system. We're currently running some trials with SQL Server 2005's new high availability features which in addition to letting us do index rebuilds while keeping the server online, will let us shift all backup operations to a secondary server - which will stop slowing things down. Cheers, Tim
  16. All, How are things now? We've been doing some performance tuning over the weekend that seems to have improved response times somewhat - or at least in our testing so far. If today's test is anything to go by, browsing the forum seems to be generally faster and posting is a little better. I'm hoping this will be maintained throughout the week, but please let us know if this isn't the case. Regards
  17. It looks like we've now reached the point where the delays during new posts are due to the forum system itself rather than anything we're doing on the web hosting platform or servers. I'd be interested to get some feedback on whether it's always slow to post, or whether this only happens at peak times etc. Thanks
  18. Is this error still happening, and if you hit refresh does it disappear? Cheers Tim
  19. You also may find that something like Norton Internet Security, if left on its default settings, will block anything interactive - javascript tends to be first on its list, which may be why the editor isn't working too well. Regards
  20. More of a missing CSS than a corrupt one... Should be back in place now, please hit Refresh or Ctrl-F5 and let us know if the styles reappear. Cheers
  21. It was rather unfortunate timing but we've been having some issues with other servers over the course of today that may have given the database timeouts. Isn't technology great.....
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