Running Smoothly Again
Visitors to our website may have noticed, over the course of the last week, a reoccurring slowness when searching or even when attempting to visit our homepage. We're happy to write that, although the source of the problem stumped us for several days, it's now clear we've found, and addressed, the culprit.
For the curious, the problem related to a background-running task that would lock up database connections for long periods of time — perhaps a minute or more at times. And since connections are limited, this would eventually lead to a “lock up” of the site, until one or more of the background tasks wrapped up and released their connections.
Ironically, these background tasks were designed to pick through products and clean up ‘dead’ and out-of-stock products, to make our search results better... But they ended up making our results non-existent!
(The background cleanup tasks still run, worry not; but now they work such that they don't lock up database connections for more than a second or two at a time.)
New Search Backend
It's been a few months ‘in the making’ and at least a month of testing, tinkering, and refining... but we have also deployed a new backend to Spendabit's search engine.
There's plenty room more for improvement, and we're always making enhancements where we see the opportunity, but this new search backend should generally be snappier than our old one, and especially so for searches that return particularly large result-sets — such as gold or computers.
A recent discovery may have revealed how we can speed up our search-engine yet further — perhaps significantly. It may be a few weeks before we have something to show for this, but we think further improvements in the search-speed department can be expected.