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Old Aug 27, 01, 8:47 pm   #1
Michael at WebFlyer
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United & AA technical problems...for all concerned

Good evening everyone.

I thought I'd let you all know that I've been in talks with InfoPop for a fair amount of the day and we are discussing our options for fixing the problems on FlyerTalk and improving the performance.

There are definitely a number of issues to deal with and I'm uncertain at this point in time about how we are going to proceed.

After my talk with InfoPop we determined that, there are a number of hardware issues that need to be addressed...this has become a necessity because UBB was never intended for the kind of scalability that we are needing at the moment. There are a number of "temporary" things that we can do to solve some of the problems but the long term solution is going to need to be more drastic. This is due in part to the hardware and in part due to the ineffeciency of the language that UBB is written in a ( a language that is fantastic for some things but not others )...as well as the data structure of the BB system on the whole.

The United forum will be down for one more day ( hopefully no longer ) and the American forum is also under duress. I intend to shut it down this evening to see if I can implement a "temporary" fix...please forgive me.

As usual, thank you all very much for your time and patience and for your continual feedback.


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Old Aug 27, 01, 8:59 pm   #2
 
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Thanks for the update !
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Old Aug 27, 01, 9:01 pm   #3
 
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Thank You Michael for the explanation. I imagine that this has been a frustrating time for you (since the "enhancement") and I for one appreciate your taking the time to let us know what is going on.
Good Luck!

-Bob Mc
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Old Aug 27, 01, 9:57 pm   #4
 
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Michael,

Thank you for posting an update.

As a programmer, I understand that software will have problems and I wish you and all of the FT staff the best during this.

I would like to make a suggestion though. Please donít forget your FT users You have many people here from all types of occupations that would probably be glad to give freely of their time to FT when in need (speaking for myself I would gladly do this).

Just a thought, thanks again for the great work!!!

George...
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Old Aug 27, 01, 11:00 pm   #5
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Wow, you guys are great. I'll keep these offers and suggestions in mind and pass them on to Randy and my collegues...thank you.

I have updated AA and it appears to be running fine at the moment. How long this will last is anybody's guess but I'll keep at it until we have an adequate solution to all of our problems.

Thank you all again for your support.

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Old Aug 28, 01, 1:44 am   #6
 
 
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Are you running FT on a Sun box?

I work for Sun Microsystems. Feel free to email me for assistance of any kind.

-David


[This message has been edited by LIH Prem (edited 08-28-2001).]
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Old Aug 28, 01, 9:19 am   #7
 
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ClueByFour: Very interesting post; I wonder if a number of us working together might be able to figure out something here.

To add a couple of points to what you wrote:

Is this really a scalability problem? Is it slower because of more activity or because of a problem with file corruption? Smells to me more like a software bug than somthing adding more RAM would help with, although in general of course that is a good suggestion.

I've observed that nFT seems to be doing a lot more in terms of page updates than old FT. For example, when I bring up the front page of FlyerTalk miles, it always refreshes, and thus I lose the light bulbs right from the start of a session. In the old days, it seemed to do this much less often. That "feels" true for other pages as well. Refreshes always seem to take a lot longer on the new FT. I wonder if some timeout parameters have been changed, which might be putting much more of a load on the server and making the user experience feel slower.

Posting is always slower on nFT than it was with old FT.

I've heard rumors that due to the number of mods FT has made to UBB 5 that it would be nearly impossible to upgrade to 6. I don't know if this is true or not.

BTW I also was surprised when I took a look at the innards of UBB. Excellent piece of software from an end user point of view; very powerful tool but not very well thought out as a large scale piece of software. (I have worked with large scale distributed applications for a number of years.)
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Old Aug 28, 01, 9:21 am   #8
 
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Michael: Thanks for keeping us posted...much better than being in the dark about what's going on, and it's good to know you're working on the problems.
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Old Aug 28, 01, 10:04 am   #9
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Good morning everybody.

Some really wonderful feedback here.

ClueByFour, you are dead on the money. Very astute observations considering you have never worked on our particular system. Your suggestions are also things that we are considering.

Unfortunately, in addition to the hardware issues, there are a number of other problems as well...as dgolds points out above. There is an issue of scalability, at least that is what the folks at UBB told me yesterday and I'd have to say that there are a fair share of bugs...at least I see them as bugs...I consider any contingency that can be accounted for in a program ( but that is not accounted for ) as a bug...that's pretty big territory.

Any further suggestions?

Thank you all for the truely excellent feedback. Maybe together we really can come up with a good working solution.

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Old Aug 28, 01, 4:35 pm   #10
 
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...nice to have a 50 yard line seat at the software Super Bowl.
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Old Aug 28, 01, 6:51 pm   #11
Michael at WebFlyer
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ClueByFour, very nice work. Thank you for the workup. I'm very, very impressed. Give me a bit of time to look this over thoroughly and when I have a minute I'll email you with my comments and we'll see where it takes us...sound good?

Thank you very much for this feedback, you've been very, very helpful.

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Old Aug 28, 01, 9:41 pm   #12
 
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One more observation:

The three fora that are down regularly (MilesBuzz, American, United) all have &gt; 4K threads and &gt; 32K posts. Those can often be magic numbers that cause bugs to reveal themselves. Quite possible UBB was never QA'ed for that amount of posts. If you haven't followed up with InfoPop on this being a possibile source of our misery, I strongly suggest you do so.

If either a 4K or 32K limit is causing a problem, you might start to see problems in Coupon Connection (which just reached over 4K threads) or Delta (which is about to go over 32K posts.

Michael, I wonder if you might be willing to post your configuration here (or e-mail it to myself and others who are interested in helping out).

ClueByFour: I love you, man...
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Old Aug 28, 01, 11:26 pm   #13
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Personally, and with a tip 'o the hat to my technoguru observer friend RichG, I think it's a miscompiled terraflop resource terminator that is the main problem.

That, or take the 110 volt plug and shove it into a 220 volt outlet and see if that gooses things a bit.

But then again, I could be mistaken.
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Old Aug 29, 01, 12:00 am   #14
 
 
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Those are all excellent suggestions.

While, at this point, I do think that blaming the hardware is a bit of a red herring (the software still has to work, albeit it might work very slowly) on a slow system, you should not have data corruption. There are other reasons to blame the hardware, but I doubt if it's the cause of the data corruption as long as you have working disks and enough swap space configured .. of course, on the other hand, you really don't want to use swap that much, so you do need to have enough memory.

I'd be interested in knowing what the configuration is (prtconf -vp output) and what sorts of numbers you're seeing with 'vmstat 5' and 'iostat 5'.

I can ask around about the NCA thing if it becomes interesting.

-David
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Old Aug 29, 01, 12:13 am   #15
 
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Okay, this might be a bit crazy...but I have an idea (don't jump all over me!!).

What about making:

United II
American Airlines II
etc.

I know...there would be a lot to figure out here...which I clearly haven't thought through...just figured I'd plant a seed.

Dorian
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