AD Maintenance

Alright, so unless you are completely unobservant, you know that I own/run America’s Debate. My main job is to handle the technical end of things. When things break, I fix them.

Well, there has been this problem that has been bugging me for a very, very long time. When we upgraded from 1.3 to 2.0, some of the posts got pretty screwed up. It seemed that, for some reason, some quotations caused the HTML to miss a tag or two. The page navigation that is normally found at the bottom of the forum was actually embedded in the last post. Oh yeah, and this problem only occurred on good browsers– there are no problems with IE.

When I first did the upgrade, I noticed a tool called “Rebuild Post Content.” I didn’t know what it did. I backed up the forum, and gave it a shot with the default setting of 500, and it just killed the server. After seeing the server load skyrocket, I stopped the tool. We’re on a shared server, so making sure we don’t monopolize resources is high on my list. I really don’t want to have to dish out the money required to pay for a dedicated server that can handle us. ;) For some reason, I didn’t try it again.

I was doing some maintenance on the forum earlier, emptying out PMs (nearly 1,000!) and old tracked topics. I decided to try the maintenance script again, after giving Matthew (our host) a heads up that I may be taking some high load.

I fired it up with 250 post per run, and the sever load spiked (up to 9+ at its highest). I had to stop. I tried it at 50, and the load rose to over 5. I tried it at 10, and the load was still over 4! That’s just crazy.

So, now I’m running the tool at 5 per cycle. The server load is in the 3s, so that’s not bad. With my projections, it will take about 10.5 hours. I’m going to have to stop it for a while, since the server’s backup has begun. Loads are headed up again, and that’s no good.

When I check some of the topics that were corrupt, they are fixed after the rebuild. It is basically the equivalent of hitting “edit” and then “submit” on every post.

Tomorrow, I plan on doing even more maintenance. I’m going to drop the fulltext index on the posts table, and rebuild it. I don’t care what they say– fulltext indexes get screwed up over time, and take a performance hit. After I rebuild the indexes, searches are much faster, like the difference between night and day. This process requires permission from the host, and can take up to an hour to complete during which the server has to do some heavy duty work.

Fun stuff. :)

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