12-08-2009 11:49 PM
We are running ACT Premium For Web 2010 with Hotfix 4. About 2 weeks ago our ACT server started to run really slow. We noticed that the w3wp.exe processes were consuming heaps massive amounts of CPU. There were also messages in the system logs that indicated that the w3wp.exe services were respawning every second. As a result of this issue logging in, search for contacts and search for companies ran very slow.
We were running on windows Server 2008. There were web reports of problems with w3wp.exe with Windows Server 2003 and various microsoft hotfixes, but none of these seemed to relate to Server 2008.
We tried everything to fix this. Gave system more CPU's and ram (courtesy of VMWare Esx) but still ran slow.
So we decided to build a new Windows Server 2008 R2 server. Reloaded ACt, imported our database and it ran fine for about 5 minutes and then the w3wp.exe process went crazy again. Why? Coiuldn't be the server itself , had to be external to the server.
We managed to track it down to being a problem with one of ACT desktop client PC's. These use the ACT Outlook Web Servciue to attach record hsitory from Outlook into ACT. On this one PC the outlook web client was stuck in a loop trying to process one particular email.
We stopped the process and it moved the offending email into the queue where you can manually attach it later if you want.
We restarted our ACT server and then reconnected the Offending PC, by starting its Outlook connector again and now the server is fine.
So something went wrong in the ACT Outlook web client. The problem was not able to be handled by the program and it just kept looping on the offending message. This is why the Servers w3wp.exe program was going nuts and running at > 70% cpu time.
Normally when the ACT client can't find a contact email address, on the second retry it shiould automatically park that message into the manual queue and move onto the next queue item. in our case it was not doing this. You see a high burst of CPU activity and then it goes back to near 0%.
So there appears to be a serious flaw in the ACT Outlook Web Servcie client that can cause a desktop PC to be able to severely impact the ACT server.
We were lucky to find this issue because we have only 13 users using the web clients. What if we had had 400 users? It would have been impossible to track this problem down.
In the Outlook thick client there used to be a QUEUERETRYINTERVAL, but this does not appear to be in theOutlook Web Client. Maybe we could at least slow down the retry rate to every 10 seconds, rather than it rtetrying every second?
As usual we spent 8 hours today on this issue. We once again looked at whether we should be using another CRM? When ACT goes wrong its a nightmare to fix it! Does nayone ACT really care about this?
I've posted this info here in the hope that we can save some other poor soul from having to go through this, and in the vain hope trhat someone at ACT (i.e. someone who works for Sage, not an ACT consultant/evangelist) will take this info onboard and forward it to the team who devlop the ACT Outlook web service connector.
Regards Mike Kirkby
12-09-2009 01:11 PM - edited 12-09-2009 01:12 PM
The cause of this issue is still under investigation. An update will be provided once more information is available or a workaround has been verified. We apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused.
Please see your Private Messages in this forum.
Note: Effective 6/1/13, Sage no longers provides support for the Act! software. This is now provided by Swiftpage.
12-09-2009 01:56 PM
The bigger picture...
Thanks for the trouble you have taken to document your problems in such a useful way. As an ACT! Consultant, I know that this problem has been highlighted to Sage before from a consultant source. It is an issue and it does everybody a great service for you to, post your detailed experience.
I also believe that Sage provide a great service in providing this forum for people like yourself to make public such useful information based on the skilled analysis that you have done. Sage takes the risk every day, in a very public way, to have their product scrutinised and commented on in both a constructive and potentially destructive way. In doing so, as long as Sage pays attention to the concerns and fixes what needs fixing, Sage, in the long run will benefit as it builds a great deal of public confidence in the ACT! product.
I know from selling ACT! that competitors quote these newsgroups in a very selective way, thinking that they can badmouth ACT! to their own ends. The reality is that Sage has taken the gamble to provide a very open, lively forum and they are very attentive in responding.
With ACT! consultants in the field, experienced in getting ACT! working well for customers, rather than slick sales people pushing the 'cloud' from some offshore call center, I believe Sage has the right ideal and the long term retention of customers in mind. The public gains by having in-the-field, experienced ACT! consultant's who have the customers requirements in mind, providing genuine service rather than the quick-sell approach.
12-09-2009 05:37 PM
I agrtee that the forum is a useful place to exchange ideas and raise issues that are impacting the community at large.
Don't get me wrong ACT is a great product when its works, It just hard to troubleshoot when its broken, especially when you are using the web client side of ACT.
Most people are forced to reinstall the product if all other troubleshooting fails. Its usually a last resort.
Its fortunate that the back/restore options in ACT are very robust, so there is little risk in doing a reinstall. But sometimes it just seems like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.
I come from the old school where we actually fixed things, and reinstalling software was rarely done.
I try to tone down my feelings when i post articles, but at the same time its hard not to convey some of the frustration we feel when ACT isn't working properly.
And its true that the whilst the grass loks greener on the other CRM side, the same issues will exist with other CRM products anyway.
So at least with the forum, ACT gets to find out what really happening. As a small software developer ourselves thats the most important thing. Staying in touch with what your customers really think about your product.
12-09-2009 06:01 PM
Sure, not my intention to imply that you were anything other than helpful. Legitimate complaint. Good analysis. Well documented and it appears Sage are promptly acting on it...great, we all benefit...;-).
In terms of uninstall reinstall, I know what you are saying. It shouldn't be a part of a troubleshooting process, however, from our long history with ACT! what I do know is that "stuff happens". For whatever reason Windows registry gets corrupted, doesn't get cleaned up, an AV product interfers with an install or integration, etc etc. Sometimes, unfortunately we find that we have to do the dreaded uninstall/reinstall because that is likely to be the quickest fix, but not without question. Sometimes, this has been taken up as a knee jerk response to fixing a problem that is perceived as too hard. That's unfortunate, however the paying customer is interested in his problem being fixed in the shortest time not in the greater good of actually what may precisely have happened to cause the problem. So when your in the thick of the battle you need to sometimes do an uninstall/reinstall because that is likely to have the quickest result based on prior experience.