All versions of HelpMaster
Maintaining a high-performance HelpMaster installation requires certain tasks and configuration. This article discusses several ideas and strategies to ensure that HelpMaster performs at optimum speed.
HelpMaster may have slowed in performance, suffers from "Timeout" errors, or other crashes.
The following are some ideas, concepts and configurations that may assist. They are by no means exhaustive, and are given here as a guide to improving system performance.
Meet the minimum technical specification
Ensure that all machines running components of HelpMaster meet, or exceed the minimum technical specifications. Especially important is the database server. Microsoft SQL Server thrives on memory, fast hard-drives and disk space. Ensure that your database machine is adequately equipped..
Upgrade from older Windows operating systems. The performance of HelpMaster in Windows 10 is much better. Use the 64 bit version if possible, and ensure that the machine has at least 4Gb RAM for optimum performance.
Upgrade your SQL Server and your database server
If you are still using SQL Server 2008, consider upgrading to the latest version. Microsoft have made some big improvements to the database engine that results in faster query time. You will also get the benefit of easier administration and a more secure environment.
While you're at it, consider upgrading the operating system of the machine that is hosting Microsoft SQL Server. Ensure that this machine has AT LEAST 8GB RAM. Generally speaking, the more memory SQL Server has access to, the better the performance will be.
Set the Database Compatibility Level to match the server version
When upgrading your SQL Server version, be sure to also update the Database Compatibility settings on the HelpMaster database to match the version. This will enable the HelpMaster database to be processed using the latest database engine. If you have moved your database from one SQL Server to another, it's possible that the database compatibility is not optimized for the new server.
Everytime you upgrade SQL Server, update the "Compatibility level" for each database running on that server to match the server. This will ensure that you can take advantage of all the new improvements.
Set Auto-shrink to false
Autoshrink consumes a lot of CPU, creates fragmentation, and a lot of Disk IO. Best practice is to turn it off.
Consider where your database server is
Having your workstations in one country, and the database server in another is fine....as long as you've got a fast-enough pipe between the two. Having your database server physically closer to the majority of your desktop users will make a difference.
Rebuild the database indexes nightly
All databases need to have correctly indexed tables and these indexes must be updated (rebuilt/re-organized) on a regular basis. Through normal use, all database indexes become increasingly fragmented and less effective. Re-building them nightly ensures that they are running in peak condition. The difference between a badly fragmented index and a freshly re-built index can be dramatic.
PRD Software recommend re-building the indexes on a nightly basis as part of your nightly database maintenance plan (backup etc)
Create new indexes where needed
HelpMaster ships with a default set of database indexes that have been designed to work for a standard configuration. However, due to the fact that each business will use HelpMaster in a different way, and have different configuration and database structure etc, it is recommended that you periodically profile, and examine the performance of your database indexes to ensure that they are covering the database usage patterns of your business. Use the Microsoft SQL Server Profiler along with the Database Tuning Advisor to update your indexes.
Archive old data
Keep your database as lean as possible. Archive old data. Purge unwanted data. A smaller database runs quicker.
Upgrade to the latest version of HelpMaster
Upgrade to the latest version of HelpMaster. New versions of HelpMaster are periodically released to address stability, performance and feature requirements. With each version, PRD Software strive to make it better than the last, and we're always tuning our code, our SQL and the technology to ensure that it's the quickest we can get it. If you need help to upgrade your system, please contact us.
Minimize the number of fields you have selected in your field chooser. The more fields you select, the longer it takes to query it, and the more data you will pull across your network.
Turn off job counts
The HelpMaster Explorer screen can display the job count against each queue. This takes time and network resources. Turning this off will improve performance. Check your user settings (User menu) for this, and other settings.
Running reports with no filters
Running reports with no, or broad filters can cause the database engine to slow down. This will affect all users. Consider filtering reports, saved searches and other queries.
Custom development and API
Do you have custom developed code running against the HelpMaster database? Audit this code and/or the database SQL that is being used to ensure that it is running at optimum speed.
If after following the advice in this article, HelpMaster continues to have performance issues, please contact PRD Software.