Users have experienced sporadic performance problems with Moodle over the past several weeks. Early last week, performance was severely degraded to the point where some users were unable to complete their work. While Moodle has been performing well after recent system updates, service degradations like this are unacceptable and the Academic Technology Tools service team is committed to resolving this issue. An ongoing investigation into the cause of the problem has revealed several contributing factors:
- Students and faculty are accessing Moodle more frequently than in previous semesters. While an increase in demand was expected and planned for with the retirement of WebVista, current usage has greatly exceeded our projections.
- More advanced features of Moodle (quizzes, lessons, etc.) are being used. The average number of interactions with Moodle per user has greatly increased.
- Increased integration with external applications (Turnitin, TurningPoint, WebServices APIs) have introduced performance bottlenecks that burden our infrastructure and impact service for users.
Timeline of Events
- September 5: Moodle performance is degraded due to increased usage and insufficient application server capacity.
- September 7: Increased capacity by 50% by adding additional application servers.
- October 8 & 9: Moodle performance is degraded due to high database utilization caused by integrated systems (Turnitin, TurningPoint, WebServices APIs)
- October 10: Application code changes and query optimizations.
- October 14: Additional application code changes and query optimizations.
- Continuous monitoring of performance with corresponding application code and query optimizations to correct problems if they arise.
- Re-assessment of system architecture and evaluation of tools to increase scalability, performance, and resilience to unforeseen bottlenecks.
- October 30: On-site visit from Oracle/MySQL experts is scheduled to assess database configuration and make recommendations.
In an effort to provide clearer and more consistent communication regarding this service, we are actively working to revise our communication plan to ensure that end-users receive updates in a timely manner. Please contact service owner, Peg Sherven, with any questions.