Upgrading ActiveRain to Improve Performance

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Suplari, Inc.

ActiveRain WorkOutActiveRain is a great and special place on the Internet due to the power of the ActiveRain community.  Our community is very active and we produce a significant amount of original content each month in the form of original blog posts, comments, and now reviews.  Each month we are creating close to 200,000 user generated pieces of content (blog posts, comments and reviews).  Right now, we have more than 5 million pages indexed by Google and the 3,500,000th blog post was recently written.

All this content requires regular maintenance of our database and system to improve & tune performance.

As many have noticed, ActiveRain has been having performance issues late at night and early in the morning.  We apologize for the inconveniences that this has caused.  We know that mornings and evenings can be the best blogging times, BUT we do have a plan that we are rolling out to improve performance, particularly database performance.

Over the next two weeks, we will be doing the following to (hopefully) improve performance and the speed of ActiveRain:

  • Archiving obsolete data (not blog posts)
  • Reducing the number of times ActiveRain fetches data
  • Streamlining the amount of data ActiveRain fetches
  • Reduce the number of calculations ActiveRain makes on a periodic basis
  • Introduce more effective methods of blocking the hackers / spammers 

Two points to call out:

  1. We will be deleting the notifications that appear on the “My Home” page that are older than six months.  Contact messages and lead referral alerts and requests will be kept indefinitely while all other notifications will now only be kept for six months.   i.e.  If Steve Shatsky left a comment on your blog two years ago, we will be deleting the notification that he left that comment from your MyHome page.  THE ACTUAL COMMENT REMAINS (I personally have never looked at a comment notification older than a day or a week at most.) 
     
  2. As the Internet has become more and more of a global phenomena, we are seeing more attempts at spamming & crawling ActiveRain content.  These spammers and nefarious crawlers can also slow down ActiveRain as the number of simultaneous database requests can increase in a short period of time.  We are going to be increasing our network security and testing more ways to deal with SPAM.
Again, we know that ActiveRain is a core piece of your real estate business and your daily lives.  We are doing what it takes to improve the performance and responsiveness of ActiveRain. 
 
Niki
 
Image via Creative Commons from Flickr
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Nikesh Parekh

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Ambassador
1,207,359
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Thanks for the heads up.  I was wondering what was going on early in the mornings.  Is that you in the picture working out?  :)  

Jan 11, 2013 09:51 PM #43
Ambassador
1,154,258
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

I mirror Praful's point on retaining the points history.  Having the last 30 days is useful but the rest is just wasted.  If you want to delete that history, it might help as well.

Jan 11, 2013 10:56 PM #44
Rainmaker
570,170
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA
Nikki...I hadn't noticed the issues but thanks for taking steps to solve them and keeping us informed. I agree with the comments on points history. Maybe 30 days is enough.
Jan 11, 2013 11:33 PM #45
Rainmaker
1,004,473
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Niki:  Earlier this morning I was trying to access this post again so I could re-read about all the improvements Active Rain was making... but Active Rain was down, and all I could get was that blasted curtain... LOL.

Keep up the great work.  (LOL x 2)

Jan 12, 2013 12:16 AM #46
Rainmaker
187,013
Nikesh Parekh
Suplari, Inc. - Seattle, WA
Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor

Karen - Ha ha.  We will solve this early morning gremlin!

Jan 12, 2013 12:59 AM #47
Ambassador
2,358,541
Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Niki, keep up the good work!  One of these days I will get out to Seattle, I would love to meet you and the AR Staff.

Jan 12, 2013 04:21 AM #48
Rainmaker
1,279,027
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

I've noticed the "pear shaped" messages and a few intermission curtains, so I knew something was going on.  Thank you for the update.

Jan 12, 2013 04:29 AM #49
Rainmaker
553,708
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Thanks as always for the update. I'm not a morning person so all is well in my world LOL

Jan 12, 2013 05:41 AM #50
Rainmaker
1,850,747
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That all sounds good guys!  Especially the spammer people.  How annoying.  As to performance, I get some early morning interruption, but not every day (east coast).

Jan 12, 2013 07:46 AM #51
Rainmaker
187,013
Nikesh Parekh
Suplari, Inc. - Seattle, WA
Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor
Great feedback everyone. Thank you Donna, Praful, Debbie, Bryan and others. We may take a more aggressive approach to comment notifications and point history. Stay tuned!
Jan 12, 2013 08:56 AM #52
Rainmaker
1,004,473
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Niki, as far as comment notifications are concerned... the speed with which we get them is just fine.  As for the point history, what is the concern there?  Is there a problem?  Just curious.

By the way... AR has been down for quite a bit over the last four or five hours.  It is 11:30pm Dallas time on Saturday, and the "curtain" is finally back up again.

And please... if something isn't "broken"... why fix it?  All that does is affect other things... and then you have to "fix" that stuff as well.  Sometimes some things are best left alone.

Jan 12, 2013 01:32 PM #53
Rainer
301,121
Marie Graham
Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY - White Plains, NY
Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager

I like Christine @13, removing old/inactive members from the rolls, or at least giving them a big old nudge. In our segment of Westchester County NY 'Active' is a misnomer. There are just over 900 listed members. 200 of them-22%-have less than 500 pts. No one hits 1000 pts til member #545, and the first photo appears at member #482. I recognize many names...but many have changed offices. Does not exactly paint a picture of a robust community

I'm sure I am speaking for many in saying how crazy we are for the live people who interact with us: teaching us and solving out problems. BUT we all work long and odd hours, and log in, comment, and blog in slivers of time we find. "SLOW", "DOWN" and "INCONVIENENT" are gross understatements. Time is not a renewable resource.

What you've described sound helpful and good, but like Mona @31, I have no idea...this is your field, not mine. But I have yet to hear anything about a problem I have written about before. Something screwy with the channels, or the post status?  Complete posts disappear with the error message of 'topic cannot be blank'-right above a clearly visible topic. I've been advised how to deal with it, but apapting is not helpful. If it's known wher the problem is, get it fixed, don;t tell us how to work around it.

Also need a save button, and a fail-safe, for when our sleep-deprived selves hit a wrong button-like FB, WP, etc-are you sure you want to delete?

Thanks for listening.

Jan 14, 2013 02:05 AM #54
Rainmaker
1,047,834
Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation
RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate - Victoria, BC
Accredited Real Estate Consultant

Hi Nikesh...I was getting kinda used to seeing the curtain, I thought it might be there to let me know I working to many hours and I need to come back when the Store is Open(Movie time).

The Upgrades all sound Positive...You Guys Rock!!

Jan 14, 2013 03:51 AM #55
Rainmaker
1,004,473
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Ahhh yes, all these upgrades DO sound wonderful, and... sooner or later this silly curtain will disappear for more than a few hours at a time and we'll actually be able to actually SEE what they are.  Oh, be still my beating heart.

Jan 14, 2013 01:02 PM #56
Ambassador
2,080,169
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Thanks for the update, Nikki, we all appreciate all the work and the reduction of 'down' times.

Jan 14, 2013 09:51 PM #57
Ambassador
895,575
Larry Bettag
Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001 - Saint Charles, IL
Vice-President of National Production

You have so much to offer here in the rain...it's good to see you taking steps to improve the efficiencies...thank you!

Jan 14, 2013 10:09 PM #58
Ambassador
3,903,591
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Niki- thank you once again for keeping us informed.  I think Brian's (#32) comment is important.  Those of us who have been here (and happy to be here BTW) know that the curtain is always temporary and with good reason.  However newbies like Brian could question their decision to be here.  Let's not lose anyone over that.  So, I'm glad you wrote this.  

I agree with many above... 6 months of notifications on comments is more than enough.  I rarely look beyond the first page and I receive those notifications via email as well. 

In the meantime... I'm patient and know that you guys are working on it. 

One more thing... I'm glad you're looking into the "X" on reblogging.  Even though we still get the points, the "X" just looks like we did something wrong. 

Jan 16, 2013 12:20 PM #59
Rainmaker
1,004,473
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Kathy, I have never had one of those red "x's" appear, but I am wondering if they appear when the writer of the blog post checks the box at the end that says that the post is NOT new material.  It could mean it's a re'blog, and they checked that box, or it could mean that they willingly copied and pasted something they thought folks should know about... but were not trying to pass it off as their own work.

Maybe ?

Jan 16, 2013 01:48 PM #60
Rainmaker
1,494,815
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Thanks for the update.  It's a good thing to purge all those old notifications!  You guys are doing a good job.  Happy New Year!

Jan 17, 2013 10:43 AM #61
Rainer
101,701
Larson Educational Services
Larson Educational - Fort Myers, FL
Larson Educational Services

I'm not really sure if it's really worth it to upgrade. trying to figure it out for ourselves around here.

Feb 06, 2013 05:13 AM #62
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Nikesh Parekh

Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor
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