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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sage lags during spring registration

Published: November 9, 2012
Section: Front Page

When class registration on sage opened last Tuesday, many students experienced a significant delay in the registration process. Although students were held to a strict appointment-based schedule, despite the Library and Technology Services’ (LTS) best efforts, class registration only resumed its anticipated pace by 2 p.m. Tuesday.

“There were a bunch of reasons sage was slow during this registration period,” Lisa DeMings, Director of Administrative and Library Information Systems said. “Sage is actually set up to handle about 800 concurrent users at a time, which should more than cover the 300 or so folks we expect to have registering each hour during the registration period.”

According to DeMings, although only a few hundred students are able to actually register during the allotted time, which is normal and has been the case for years, anyone may sign on and add classes to their shopping cart—they just can’t register until their allotted appointment.

“We saw an unusually high number of connections during the Tuesday registration period this year, an over 25 percent increase compared with past years, perhaps because we had power issues the day before due to the hurricane,” DeMings said. “We really don’t know why volume was so much higher than in past years. Most years we experience some latency but the experience this year was completely unprecedented.”

Sage’s slow pace was not a result of network problems, DeMings said.

“The problem was with our web servers and our application servers, part of the sage PeopleSoft architecture. We saw first that requests for sage got stacked up by slow web servers, so we increased the amount of RAM there and then they got stacked up within sage at the app servers, so we increased our capacity there to be about 1,000 concurrent connections. We learned of the problem at about 10 a.m. By about 2 p.m. we noticed improvement once we cleared out all the old requests,” DeMings said.

Sage’s sluggishness did not come as a surprise to many students—however frustrating it was to handle. Many, over time, have come to expect a delay because of the sheer number of students logging onto sage in a short period of time, regardless of the amount of RAM that LTS provides.

According to DeMings, LTS has several different plans for next year’s fall registration period to ensure a fast-paced registration process.

“We have several ideas in the pipeline, one includes having resources on standby to handle the increased traffic. We’re thinking of sizing to allow for about three times the normal load. We are also looking into how to do better load-testing on our systems prior to registration starting,” DeMings said.