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Tim Stephenson (Archant IS)

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Everything posted by Tim Stephenson (Archant IS)

  1. [quote]Additional to my general comments above, a couple of specific questions: (again befor e”laying into what I have read, read the last paragraph).“In this case, the site’s performance problems are due to...[/quote]

    I1,

    Thanks for your comments.

    In response, while I *personally* completely agree with the idea of selecting the right tools for the job at hand, and would happily replace the IIS/windows stack with a Java based environment running on whatever platform we felt we could adequately support, we are unfortunately currently bound by a legacy, corporate IT preference for running MS products.

    Like many large companies this is reflected across everything from selection of desktop clients through to back end and infrastructure servers.

    However, times are changing and we're now starting to evaluate alternatives to MS in a large number of areas. For example, we've just purchased a set of high spec Sun servers to run an internal system - in preference to another set of Wintel / SQL servers.

    Concerning the web in particular, now that the ever popular mySQL database server supports true database hosted business logic layers in the form of views and stored procedures, we're looking at how we can fit it into the mix - potentially using it to replace some of our web facing SQL Servers.

    The issue of development environments (i.e. .NET vs Java) is one that is somewhat tricker to tackle. While each has their merits and indeed negatives, we've gone down the .net route for a couple of reasons.

    1) Due to the preference for WinTel servers, .NET seemed to be the best option at the time as we already had the server platform and a large amount of relevant systems support and management skills in-house.

    2) Following this decision we've worked to ensure that our development team hold current top tier professional MS certifications for .NET development, enabling us to reduce development cycles and create high performance applications.

    3) A large number of our systems need to integrate with internal systems, and with everything running the same platform integration issues can usually be minimised.

    etc.

    Having said all this though, it doesn't mean that we're wedded to .NET for life - just for the immediate future. We're looking closely at viable alternatives as part of a wider spread review of platforms, application servers and development environments, and will probably end up moving away from .NET to something like Java.

    To address the performance issues, so far we've found .NET to offer excellent performance when deployed on high spec hardware. However, on slower machines .NET applications (both web & Windows) can run abysmally slow although this is probably due to the additional work that needs to happen at run time.

    Again, given adequate hardware and an optimised & tuned database, SQL Server 2000 can be an amazingly quick performer. In comparison, place a poorly designed database on ultra quick servers and it'll be excruciatingly slow. This is the same across the board - regardless of the RDBMS in use. All in all it does a good job if your database doesn't need to scale beyond a dual processor server. If you need two or more servers to support your database traffic, its licensing is rather unattractive. At around £40k to licence two dual processor servers in a clustered configuration, it's simply too expensive - even given corporate IT budgets. It's in this sort of area we're looking at alternatives.

  2. [quote]A number of members - including me - have commented on the slowness of the site and possible reasons for the problems. Someone from Archant corporate IT has taken the time to reply from a position of ...[/quote]

    Carole - thanks !

    A less technical version of the above:

    1) The reason this site is so slow has nothing to do with the fact it's running a Microsoft environment.

    2) Running PHP, CGI, Perl, Java, or (insert your favourite language here) isn't going to make it any quicker.

    3) That doesn't mean that we love Microsoft or that we think it's good / better than everything else. The Microsoft platform / environment is simply what our company is currently standardised on for software (and website) development.

    4) The site & forum are slow because there isn't currently a large enough connection between the server used to host the site and the internet.

    5) We're (Archant's IT team) working to fix this by moving the site to a newer & faster hosting system that has an extremely fast internet connection, but some bits of the site need to be rewritten to work properly.

    6) For a taste of the speed this site WILL be running at soon, please visit www.edp24.co.uk.

    7) Job titles.... They get worse as businesss get larger! :-)

  3. [quote]Well, as somebody who has had a lot of dealings in the past with corporate IT departments in publishing companies I didn't find Tim's title, or his response, at all surprising. I'm sure what he says ...[/quote]

    Will,

    The LF forum performance problems are mainly down to the lack of bandwidth available to the server hosting the site. This will be resolved when it's moved across to the new hosting platform.

    The example site I mentioned, EDP24, sits on a set of load balanced webservers and is accessed concurrently by anything up to 2500 users.

  4. [quote]I was flabbergasted by Tim Stephensons reply which was obviously meant to baffle and fob us off with technical ********. No offence intended but that was not really a very helpful reply to what is an ...[/quote]

    Paul,

    The post wasn't intended to fob anyone off with technical info, and I'm sorry you feel that way.

    The LF team do care about the forum and its members, but unfortunately they do not have direct control over the hosting platform, or its performance. This responsibility sits within the domain of our Group IS team, of which a number of people headed up by myself are focused exclusively on the Group's digital media requirements.

    The EDP24 link is on the new hosting platform, which is the result of around £90,000 of investement in new servers and higher bandwidth connectivity, for use by all Group websites.

    Unfortunately, certain components of the LF website are based on older technologies and have dependancies which cannot be easily migrated to the new platform. When these dependancies are resolved, this site will be moved to the new hosting platform bringing all the associated benefits and hopefully blazingly quick performance.

    Best regards

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