Status report, 24th June 2007 June 24, 2007Posted by ClustrMaps Team in News.
In response to many user emails, we have updated our FAQ concerning recent processing backlogs, and are also posting the key elements of it below for publicity and ease of access.
QUICK SUMMARY: Big backlog/queue, we are working through it, and so we have had to increase the ‘increment threshold’ to 20% (i.e. if you had 10000 visitors showing on your map, then you don’t get a fresh map update until > 12000 visitors are displayed). All totals are still stored correctly in the long run, and we are more keen than you to lower those thresholds again. No need to email us, and we have many solutions being developed.
FULL DETAILS: There are three separate factors:
- The update frequency may have been affected by a change in the ‘increment threshold’, so be sure first to read our FAQ entry about update frequency (click here).
- During May and June 2007, we found ourselves processing an exceptionally large number of map updates and re-clusterings and additionally we commissioned new servers and also upgraded some systems software. A processing ‘backlog’ occurred during this period, and we found that working through it has been time-consuming, especially because of our rapid pace of growth, with many enthusiastic new users joining up (thank you!). Specifically to ease the overall backlog, we decided temporarily to increase, for most users, the threshold of ‘new dots’ needed before a fresh map update would be drawn, from 10% to 20%, as explained in our FAQ article about update frequencey (click here).
- A number of ‘outlying cases’, especially on our first server (i.e. there is no mention of ‘www2’ or ‘www3’ in your HTML code), show ‘Visits previous day’ at the same number for many many days. We are looking more deeply into those and will update this News/Blog site and our FAQ page when there is further information. Even so, the cumulative totals will still be retrievable in the long run.
The first and second factors are, of course, related! In the first case, it may just be that your threshold was not yet reached. In the second case, it may be that your threshold was reached, but you are simply stuck in the backlog of processing. The good news is that we are slowly getting there and making some permanent architecture changes to deploy a load-balancing server farm to avoid such problems entirely in the future: this is a big change, and will take some time.
So, if it feels to you like ‘a problem I have had before’, please be assured that the new servers and software upgrades that we have just deployed are designed to solve the earlier problems, but unfortunately involve a temporary delay in the updating cycle! We expect all this to be resolved by the end of the summer of 2007. All ‘old hits’ that are accumulated during any regrettable delays will still be counted correctly and added to your eventual total.
Users who have written to us will know how dedicated and responsive we are: if you look around the blogosphere, or follow the pointers on our own review and testimonial site, you will see many examples of users praising our rapid turnaround and enthusiastic customer relations. We take great pride in our hard-earned reputation. The last ‘hurdle’ on our path is ensuring that our massive scalability, rapid-rendering maps, and great customer service are ALSO accompanied by the kind of simple, fast, routine, robust, and reliable service, including daily updates, that all of users have come to expect. We will not disappoint you! We have no served up over 1.5 Billion maps, and are growing rapidly. We thank all of your wonderful and enthusiastic users for bearing with us. If a delay to your own map update has caused you exceptional problems, then please get in touch with us at the address at the bottom of this page, and we will discuss whether there is anything special we can do for you. If you are just ‘worried’, then it is simpler in the short term if you do not email us, because we already know of the problems. Any ClustrMaps+ user who has had a problem in the past knows that we offer a full no-questions-asked refund — but of course we also know that users prefer to have the service, not a refund involving the rather tiny amounts of money that we charge for ClustrMaps+ !!! The service is precisely what we aim to provide: stay tuned for some great new capabilities!