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  1. #1
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    December 20th, 2005
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    xml heavy much slower lately
    My xml heavy calls have been very slow the past few days, whether using the newly released or the old ae.pl. (My lite calls are fine, and if I switch the heavys to lites, they're fine, too.)

    I'm on my own server, and the problem only started this week. Memory usage has gone way up - not server load. Yes, I know it's holiday shopping time, but the difference is beyond that range.

    Anyone else having speed problems like this? David, any thoughts?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador cusimano's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    1. Verify that your AE cache is non-empty. See http://www.c3scripts.com/amazon/optimize

    2. Try the same AE requests on other websites and see how they compare to yours. Two of my sample AE websites are:

    www.bime.com/amazon/
    www.c3scripts.com/cgi-bin/ae.pl

    3. Ask your hosting company to check your server's network interface card (NIC) for excessive RX/TX errors (test small/medium/large packets). I once had a server with a failing/misconfigured NIC (lots of RX/TX errors for large packets only) and the server was experiencing very high load; once the card was fixed, the server was happy again.

    Yours truly,
    Cusimano.Com Corporation
    per: David Cusimano

  3. #3
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    1. Verify that your AE cache is non-empty. See http://www.c3scripts.com/amazon/optimize

    The AE cache is non-empty. So is the AE-image cache. Regarding optimization, two items seem counter-intuitive: you say to "Set the imgcache.size configuration variable to 500KB (the default is 1MB) and set the imgcache.stale configuration variable to 30days (the default is 90days)" - but wouldn't reducing the cache size and making it stale faster than the defaults slow things down, not speed them up?

    The one major difference in my settings is pagesize; I've been using 50. (Keep in mind that things were fine until late last week with this setting, though.) Anyway, I moved it down to 10, but still no improvement.

    The only change that makes a noticeable improvement? Switching from heavy to lite xml. But I want all those nice reviews and other details that give a product page some meat (both for the search engines and for the customers).


    2. Try the same AE requests on other websites and see how they compare to yours. Two of my sample AE websites are:

    www.bime.com/amazon/
    www.c3scripts.com/cgi-bin/ae.pl


    They're both nice and fast. Harumph!

    3. Ask your hosting company to check your server's network interface card (NIC) for excessive RX/TX errors (test small/medium/large packets). I once had a server with a failing/misconfigured NIC (lots of RX/TX errors for large packets only) and the server was experiencing very high load; once the card was fixed, the server was happy again.

    They did, and report no problems. Any other ideas?

    Thanks.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador cusimano's Avatar
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    1. Smaller cache size (measured in bytes) means less files (measured in number of files). Less files means that the server takes less time to find the requested file on disk (it takes the server longer to find a file when the directory contains more files; e.g.: 2000 files in a directory versus 500 files in a directory; Linux servers typically slow down when a directory has more than 2000 files). There is no cache setting to limit the number of files; only the number of bytes.

    pagesize 50 causes 5 requests/responses to/from amazon's server (amazon limits each response to 10 products; thus 50/10=5 requests/responses are required). Between each request there is a 1 second delay (required by amazon). Thus pagesize 50 takes at least 5 seconds to complete. Whereas, pagesize 10 takes less.

    2. If AE on both my sites is fast and yours is not, then it's your server. My sites use heavy XML, not lite XML.

    3. Have your hosting company ping the router that the server is connected with. Use increasingly larger packets (256, 512, 1K, 2K, 4K, 8K, 16K). Check # of packets, and RX/TX errors.

    4. Move to a different server at your hosting company, or a different hosting company.

    5. Use the support form and let me know your URL.

    Yours truly,
    Cusimano.Com Corporation
    per: David Cusimano

  5. #5
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    December 20th, 2005
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    Hi, all.

    I contacted David offline, and as usual, he identified the problem. Turns out it wasn't my server or setup, but either Amazon or general Internet load. And he also offered the following elegant explanation as to why the increased load at Amazon caused my memory usage to go up, which I post here so that it can put anyone else having the same problem's mind at ease:

    If your server is being hit a lot and then the connection to amazon slows
    down, then you'll have a lot of ae.pl's waiting in memory to finish, and
    they'll pile up if other hits are still coming in, and memory usage will go
    up.


    Kudos to David!

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