Faster! Optimize Your Cascade Server Experience, by Justin Klingman, Beacon Technologies

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In today’s world, we want our online experience to be as fast as possible (who wants to wait?), and our interaction with Cascade Server is no different. In this session, Justin Klingman of Beacon Technologies will cover Cascade Server optimization techniques--including auditing slow sites, index block settings and use, XSLT coding tips, and hardware configuration for optimal performance.

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Faster! Optimize Your Cascade Server Experience, by Justin Klingman, Beacon Technologies

  1. 1. 2012 Cascade Server User’s ConferenceJustin Klingman, Manager, Web Software DevelopmentBeacon Technologies, Inc. | beacontechnologies.com September 17, 2012 @JustinVT99 #csuc12
  2. 2.  Mission: ◦ AUTOMATE, GROW, and CONNECT Your Business Services Offered: ◦ Web Development, Digital Marketing, Web Hosting Currently supporting 185 active Web clients Hannon Hill Development and Hosting Partner ◦ > 80 sites in 25 Cascade instances since 2005 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference2 09/17/2012
  3. 3.  Objective: Speed up your Cascade experience Infrastructure Index Blocks: Problems & Solutions Data Definitions Publishing Tips for End Users Used Cascade 7 w/32-bit engine and legacy (6.x) caching 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference3 09/17/2012
  4. 4.  Minimum CPU is Dual Core; recommend Quad Core with 4GB of RAM Separate Application and Database ◦ Server #1: Cascade software (front-end) ◦ Server #2: Database Server (back-end) Notes: ◦ Servers should not be used for other applications ◦ If using virtual servers, use 15K RPM SCSI Drives on separate disk drives and RAID spindles in your SAN  Provides greater disk access speed 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference4 09/17/2012
  5. 5.  Upgrade Cascade! Use latest supported OS and Database versions 64-bit OS and Java ◦ Much faster with raised memory allocation  74% decrease in page rendering in our testing ◦ 64-bit allows for more memory to be allocated Java Settings ◦ Allocate > 1.5 GB RAM (64-bit only) ◦ Investigate Initial RAM, Max RAM, and MaxPermSize settings 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference5 09/17/2012
  6. 6.  Network ◦ Use Gigabit connections between all servers ◦ Avoid FTP publishing if possible ◦ Best publishing methods  Cascade Windows → Windows: Windows File Transfer  Cascade Windows → Linux: Samba  Cascade Linux → Linux: NFS Restart Cascade weekly 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference6 09/17/2012
  7. 7.  One of the biggest factors in page rendering & publishing times Don’t index more than you need ◦ Carefully enable Index Block options ◦ Deactivate / Delete unused assets 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference7 09/17/2012
  8. 8. 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference8 09/17/2012
  9. 9. 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference9 09/17/2012
  10. 10.  Experiment: Top Navigation dropdown menu showing sub-links under each main item ◦ GREAT feature for your Web site visitors ◦ Requires indexing all site folders, but only 3 levels deep 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference10 09/17/2012
  11. 11.  Optimized index block: 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference11 09/17/2012
  12. 12.  Change one option at a time to show performance impact  Results ◦ 1,200 pages, single page rendered(minimal publishing differences) Block Option Optimized Render Non-optimized Render Depth of Index 3 4 0:18 Max Rendered Assets 0 (unlimited) 200 0:05 Indexed Asset Types Pages / Blocks Pages / Blocks /Files 0:20 Page XML Do not render page XML inline 0:10 Render page XML inline 1:13 Indexed Asset Content Regular Content / Regular Content / 0:11 User Metadata System Metadata / User Metadata Other Indexed Info <not selected> Append Calling Page Data 0:11 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference12 09/17/2012
  13. 13.  Optimal Solution: Feed Block ◦ Publish XML file of Top Navigation ◦ In Cascade, Feed Block reads published XML file (like external RSS feed) ◦ Top navigation is rendered normally, but is faster since Cascade isn’t processing index block ◦ Top Navigation XML is published manually, using scheduled Publish Set, or Workflow Publish Trigger  Format: If page’s “Last Published On” value does not exist, it has never been published, so hide <xsl:apply-templates select=“system-page[last-published-on]”> 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference13 09/17/2012
  14. 14.  Optimal Solution: Feed Block ◦ Advantage:  Cuts render time in half (0:10 → 0:05) ◦ Disadvantage:  Navigation changes not displayed in Cascade until XML is published 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference14 09/17/2012
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  16. 16.  Accordion / Fly-out Navigation: ◦ Subfolder navigation appears without changing pages ◦ Disadvantage: Must index entire site  Relative indexing cannot see into parent folders 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference16 09/17/2012
  17. 17.  Optimal Solution: Relative Indexing ◦ Index the current page’s parent folders and siblings ◦ Doesn’t index every page in a section ◦ Optimized Index Block: 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference17 09/17/2012
  18. 18.  Results ◦ 70-page section, single page rendered Solution Render Accordion 0:31 Relative Indexing 0:10  If Accordion is needed, use Feed Block ◦ Same solution as Top Navigation ◦ Disadvantages:  Navigation changes not displayed in Cascade until XML is published  Accordion cannot be viewed in Cascade  Requires .NET, PHP to process XML file 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference18 09/17/2012
  19. 19.  Usually have to index content from pages  Much faster to index Metadata only  Example: Faculty Directory ◦ Listing Page: Name, College, Phone, Email ◦ Optimized Index Block 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference19 09/17/2012
  20. 20.  Example: Faculty Directory ◦ Data Definition: Index page content ◦ Metadata: Only index page metadata ◦ Results (450 Faculty pages) Data Definition Metadata 0:29 0:10 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference20 09/17/2012
  21. 21.  How do you know what data you need and don’t need? ◦ Need to see the data the page is seeing ◦ “XML” configuration in each Configuration Set 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference21 09/17/2012
  22. 22.  How do you know what data you need and don’t need? ◦ Edit page and attach appropriate block to XML configuration (e.g. “Press Releases”) ◦ View XML configuration to see the XML the page is seeing ◦ Edit Index Block options to find optimal settings 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference22 09/17/2012
  23. 23.  The bigger they are, the harder they fall (or render, or save)  Use Data Definition Blocks ◦ Breaks up fields in page’s Data Definition 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference23 09/17/2012
  24. 24.  Do full-site publishes at night when server load is light  Publish only what’s needed  Avoid full-site publishes when possible ◦ Solution: Includes for common template regions  Publishing over Network is faster than FTP 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference24 09/17/2012
  25. 25.  Choose your Web browser wisely ◦ My #1 choice is Google Chrome, followed by Firefox, Safari ◦ Aren’t I forgetting a browser?  Browsing in Cascade ◦ Use context menus ◦ Don’t have to wait for a page to load before selecting action (Edit, Publish, etc.) 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference25 09/17/2012
  26. 26.  Gather list of modules / regions to evaluate  Benchmark current setup ◦ Metrics: “Rendering Time” and “Slow Regions” ◦ Publish times: single page, full site  Index Block ◦ Evaluate XSLT to determine what data it needs ◦ Create XML Configuration for all Configuration Sets ◦ Attach index block to see what the page is seeing ◦ Tune Index Blocks settings to get minimum data 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference26 09/17/2012
  27. 27.  Modules ◦ Consider different approach (e.g. Feed Block) ◦ Listing Pages: Data Definition vs. Metadata  Data Definitions ◦ Opportunities to split into Data Definition Blocks 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference27 09/17/2012
  28. 28.  Infrastructure ◦ Cascade / OS / DB versions ◦ Front- and back-end architecture & specs  1 or 2 servers?  Processor / Memory / Disk ◦ Java Engine  32- or 64-bit?  Memory allocated ◦ Publishing Via Network or FTP? 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference28 09/17/2012
  29. 29.  A “look under the hood” ◦ Page render/publish speed, configuration, code and infrastructure implementation  Valuable insights & actionable recommendations ◦ Improve the user experience and simplify maintenance  QR code, card in Swag Bag, stop by our booth, see Rick Boccard or me, or visit beacontechnologies.com/cascade-server-analysis/ 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference29 09/17/2012
  30. 30.  Contact Information: Justin Klingman Beacon Technologies, Inc. beacontechnologies.com jklingman@beacontechnologies.com 336.232.5685 @JustinVT99 2012 Cascade Server User’s Conference30 09/17/2012

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