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Sanity Check, re Act slowness

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New Member
Posts: 17
Country: Australia
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Sanity Check, re Act slowness

Hi Folks,

 

I'm hoping to get a little bit of a sanity check re our ACT config here.

 

At our main site, we have 15 staff using ACT 2012 Premium (SP1 HF5).  With five staff logged in, it's not too bad. With 10 logged in, its slow.  The next 5 need to try logging in after 10am to let ACt settle a bit, otherwise the whole system comes to its knees until 10-11am.

 

Our ACT consultants have been telling us for close to a year that it's because ACT runs on our SBS server, which is overloaded.    So we've migrated Exchange and File services to their own machines, and ACT now runs on its own 2008R2 Enterprise VM (Physical server is a dual hex-core hyperthreaded xeons with 64gb ram and 8x500gb drives in raid-10.  I happily cloned a 40gb vm in 102 seconds last week.. mmmm 380mbytes/sec sustained).  VM has 8 cores allocated, and 24gb of ram.  We're running SQL Server 2008 R2 inside that, alongside ACT.

 

Right now, it's 9:30am, the staff are screaming, navigating the database in SQL Management studio using the actreader account is painfully slow.. BUT the server is using 80% of ONE cpu core, so there's very little load.

 

We have 106,000 contacts, I'm not sure if that's considered a lot?

 

Users are continually getting the standard Timeout exceeded and Lockfile errors which I see popping up with no answers all over the forum, while trying to login, and modify contacts.

 

Are we asking WAY too much of act, or are other folks managing to have 15 users logged in at once, with 100,000 contacts?

 

If ACT didn't mess around with taking away access to SQL server, I'd be able to check what is being locked.. - how do we do this the 'Act! way'?   Rather pulling my hair out here!

 

Thanks,


Damien


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Accepted by topic author iconbg
‎09-25-2015 03:20 AM
Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 1,679
Country: Australia

Re: Sanity Check, re Act slowness

Since you're using Sage ACT! 2012, that means that you can get access to the SQL, simply load SQL Management Studio and login using windows Administrator credentials.

 

Second, you have the Premium version, which means you could be using MS SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard, but it would appear that you're not based on the fact that the server is using 80% of just one CPU. Why? because SQL Express has a few limits, the first being that it will ONLY use 1 GB of RAM for that instance, the second being that it will ONLY use one CPU and the third is that it has a file size (.adf) limit of 10 GB.

 

I'd suggest you get that confirmed, and it you are using SQL Express, quite likely upgrading to SQL Standard will improve your performance.

 

The third issue (only a maybe) you have is that you've got 8 x 500 GB in RAID10 and you can clone 40 GB in 102 seconds. If that's during a peak time, i.e. 10 AM that this is not an issue. But it *could* be if it your drive I/O is dramaticly slower during peak time. Why? because if the Physical Machine and your Virtual Machines are all trying to access the drives at the same time (i.e. SBS/AD/File&Print/etc) then it can still perform badly. If this is an issue, the 'fix' is to add a drive volume that is ONLY used for the ACT! DB, that way those drive spindles (or SSD) are not trying to serve every other use at the same time, they are dedicated to giving ACT! users good performance.

 

Hope that helps you get pointed in the right direction.

 

Ben.

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Solution
Accepted by topic author iconbg
‎09-25-2015 03:20 AM
Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 1,679
Country: Australia

Re: Sanity Check, re Act slowness

Since you're using Sage ACT! 2012, that means that you can get access to the SQL, simply load SQL Management Studio and login using windows Administrator credentials.

 

Second, you have the Premium version, which means you could be using MS SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard, but it would appear that you're not based on the fact that the server is using 80% of just one CPU. Why? because SQL Express has a few limits, the first being that it will ONLY use 1 GB of RAM for that instance, the second being that it will ONLY use one CPU and the third is that it has a file size (.adf) limit of 10 GB.

 

I'd suggest you get that confirmed, and it you are using SQL Express, quite likely upgrading to SQL Standard will improve your performance.

 

The third issue (only a maybe) you have is that you've got 8 x 500 GB in RAID10 and you can clone 40 GB in 102 seconds. If that's during a peak time, i.e. 10 AM that this is not an issue. But it *could* be if it your drive I/O is dramaticly slower during peak time. Why? because if the Physical Machine and your Virtual Machines are all trying to access the drives at the same time (i.e. SBS/AD/File&Print/etc) then it can still perform badly. If this is an issue, the 'fix' is to add a drive volume that is ONLY used for the ACT! DB, that way those drive spindles (or SSD) are not trying to serve every other use at the same time, they are dedicated to giving ACT! users good performance.

 

Hope that helps you get pointed in the right direction.

 

Ben.

Nickel Super Contributor
Posts: 397
Country: USA

Re: Sanity Check, re Act slowness

Have you considered taking out the old data you no longer have commercial use for at least a year?

Have you considered using something bigger?   How about SalesLogix?

Anyway check it so you can have Data Old rule, and improving server and network, maybe this will help you troubleshoot the performance of the database.

Have you tried using one of your users if you put remote database? It may be a good test ... If it does not get slower his computer, in this case the data traffic would be Only in the Network Synchronization time with the server, but don't Sync Everyone at time.


Whit one test you can do with one user, and so you see how it goes to that user.



IT IS IMPORTANT THAT DO BACKUP DAILY. -   And put periodically copy of this ZIP file to a external disk  (Just in case)

New Member
Posts: 17
Country: Australia

Re: Sanity Check, re Act slowness

Thanks Ben, you hit the nail on the head with us still using Express Edition!

 

When I initially installed the server, I installed SQL 2012 Standard, and the Act install said it needed to install 2008 Express. So I removed 2012 and installed 2008 R2 Standard.  On Install, Act said nothing about installing Express, so I thought I was good to go!

 

Buggrit, getting all users to logout now, so we can switch across - will let you know how we go!

 

Thanks for your time on the phone!

 

Regards,


Damien

New Member
Posts: 17
Country: Australia

Re: Sanity Check, re Act slowness

Yup, that was it.  I never thought I'd hear our student services girls refer to Act! as 'positively zippy'!   I'm currently syncing our NZ, IE, and UK branches in, have 18 users logged in, their outlook's are attaching all their overnight emails, and with 8 cores allocated, the server is still only at 70% average CPU load.  Quite impressed!

 

Epic props for your time on the phone earlier - exactly the right info I needed, we'll be in touch for future support! Smiley Happy

 

Regards,


Damien

Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 1,679
Country: Australia

Re: Sanity Check, re Act slowness

No problem, it's what we do. Smiley Happy

Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 14,384
Country: Australia

Re: Sanity Check, re Act slowness

Yup, Ben's the man ... and anything he charges would be economical for the returns in productivity.

As Ben said, SQL Express (that comes free with ACT!) wasn't using any of the grunt you had available in your server.

The good news is that, on that server, with the right edition of SQL, ACT! will scale considerably more than you seem to be using :-)
New Member
Posts: 17
Country: Australia

Re: Sanity Check, re Act slowness

[ Edited ]

Yup, sitting here watching the 4 cores SQL Standard will use, sitting around 80% each, I can see that we'll likely end up upgrading to Enterprise eventually.. But we have a bit of growth room before that now Smiley Happy

 

Right now I'm going to try and forget Act! exists for a while, before I have to lab up the 2013 upgrade!   (Doing major version upgrades across synced offices in three fairly diverse timezones is not going to be fun Smiley Sad  )   (Or can we have 2013 in one site, and 2012 in another site without breaking sync?)

Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 14,384
Country: Australia

Re: Sanity Check, re Act slowness

If you're referring to ACT! 2013 (and not Windows or Office) ... no, all users sharing a database (sync or LAN) must be on the same version.

Get Ben to do it for you ... I'm sure it's what he lives for ;-)
New Member
Posts: 17
Country: Australia

Re: Sanity Check, re Act slowness

Sorry, yeah, Act 2013 Smiley Happy

 

The problem for us is that any upgrades we do to the network which affect all sites at once, we only have a two hour window between close of business in .au, and opening hours in the UK. 

 

So the usual plan of attack is to upgrade the .au server (master), upgrade the UK and IE servers, upgrade the UK and IE clients, and then go back and work our way through AU and NZ clients (and NZ server).


But I plan to lab it up and test the sequence so we don't have any big hiccups, next time Smiley Wink