My SJU Update: 11/12/09

Yesterday, Sungard Higher Education, the vendor who develops and supports the underlying software which drives MySJU, was able to identify a specific channel within MySJU which appears to be the primary source of the performance issues with the portal.  The Personal Announcement channel on the SJU Today page was causing MySJU to completely suspend all processing activities for upwards of 60 seconds at a time.  When MySJU was in this suspended state, all user requests were backlogged and placed into a waiting queue until the software completed its self-maintenance activities.  This sequence of system stops and starts recurred every two to three minutes so very little meaningful work was being done as the system cleaned up after itself.

MySJU performance improved significantly yesterday afternoon once the Personal Announcement channel was removed.  While we are fairly confident that we have found the system bottleneck, Sungard and the IT support team will continue to monitor system performance very closely throughout the next several days and weeks.

Given the findings with the Personal Announcement channel, Sungard is creating a test environment on their servers in an attempt to re-create the processing bottleneck and develop a solution.  Until a resolution is provided by Sungard, IT has suspended the use of the Personal Announcement channel.

IT will continue to provide the direct links to Blackboard, Administrative Services and other MySJU services at least until the end of student registration.  If MySJU remains stable throughout the rest of the month, then the direct links will be removed.

As you probably have surmised, finding the source of the problem was no easy task because MySJU is a complex system with many integrated component parts.  Troubleshooting complex issues of this kind requires painstaking analysis of system log files and, over the course of the past several weeks, Sungard and IT have analyzed dozens of log files and hundreds of thousands of log entries.   Before pinpointing the problem channel yesterday, Sungard had made a number of recommendations to us, and we performed a number of system configuration changes with the hope of resolving the issue.  While each of these changes provided a measure of improvement and marginal relief to the community, none resolved what has now been identified as a software design problem..  We are reasonably hopeful that MySJU is once again stable and hope that the user community in time will return to the portal. 

Again, we sincerely regret the negative effect these problems have had on the University community and appreciate your patience and support throughout this long and painful process.