Russell Luke
Russell Luke DBmarlin Co-founder & Managing Director

DBmarlin helps Academic Excellence improve database performance by almost 3000 percent

DBmarlin helps Academic Excellence improve database performance by almost 3000 percent

DBmarlin database performance tuning at Academic Excellence helps hundreds of thousands of users in over 50 countries achieve the test results they deserve.

Academic Excellence is an organisation dedicated to delivering quality educational resources to home and private educators. Due to COVID-19 and unprecedented levels of online user testing, the pressure on Academic Excellence’s systems reached breaking point. The 2021 testing season saw a record number of students trying to complete their tests before set deadlines.

The implication of slow performance for their users is a big deal and something they needed to fix very quickly. Students needed their tests to be responsive and intuitive so that they could achieve the best results possible and be recognised for all their hard work. If the tests ran slowly and students underachieved, the subsequent consequences would have been serious.

Within a week of getting involved, we identified and understood the problem, customised our performance monitoring software to support their version of MySQL, deployed monitoring into production, analysed the data gathered, and recommended a fix and assisted in the implementation.

Our team’s commitment to helping solve our client’s problem when they were under huge pressure is the kind of service that we deliver to all of our clients.

DBmarlin and the database index tuning requirements it highlighted were transformational for Academic Excellence. They have gone from a situation where their customer service team dealt with over 600 complaints from students and their anxious parents each day, to just a couple of routine customer requests, unrelated to system performance.

That’s a huge win for us and everyone at Academic Excellence.

So, what went wrong and how did we assist?

Immediately after installing DBmarlin, we could see that the CPU usage on the MySQL database server for Academic Excellence was running at 100% despite the machine having 24 CPU cores. Looking at the MySQL instance and where it was spending its time, we saw that the MySQL wait event ‘Sorting result’ was the culprit. The machine had 512GB of RAM and the ‘sort’ area was sized to allow processes to use it, but even still, sorting large amounts of data in memory can still be a very CPU intensive operation.

After recommending and creating the new index, we managed to return our client’s CPU usage to normal and allow for their high-quality service to resume. Everyone is happy and our client now has enough spare capacity and time to implement the vital upgrades they need. Furthermore, they can introduce end-to-end application monitoring and new performance testing capabilities so that they are all set to migrate to a more dynamic and flexible cloud environment.

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