Improved Response Times for Horizon

Horizon online catalog users should now notice a perceptible improvement in response time as a result of recent system modifications. On Saturday morning, November 9, 1996, the Horizon production workload was moved to a new server, the higher model of the IBM RS6000. This new machine is faster and more reliable than the old production server, resulting in approximately 30% faster response times for searches. At the same time, the database management software that underlies the Horizon application was upgraded from Sybase System 10 to System 11. Sybase System 11 is more robust than earlier versions and is designed to take advantage of machines with multiple processing units like the new Horizon server.

From its inception, Horizon has been a developmental project which requires testing and continual improvements such as this one. This move was the result of several months of planning, testing, and coordination by staff from the University Library, Networking Services, and Ameritech Library Services. It was a smooth cutover with no interruption of service apart from the unavailability of the character-based catalog (CHUI) for less than twelve hours.

Controlled timing tests indicate an overall improvement in response time for catalog searching from 10% to 30% when no other processes are running on the machine. Under normal load, however, response time can improve as much as 30% more because of the benefits of data caching. Additional improvements may be gained from continued efforts at performance tuning. For those interested, the older server was an RS6000 590H and the new machine is a model J40 SMP machine with four 604 processors, SSA disk, and 1 GB RAM.

For more information on the technical aspects of Horizon, contact Priscilla Caplan, Assisant Director for Library Systems, at 702-5079 or pcaplan@midway.uchicago.edu">pcaplan@midway.uchicago.edu.

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