Monday, September 23, 2013

Visualizing Performance Issues with MMS

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“LMS is down.” The dreaded phrase came back again, meaning the office is twiddling its thumbs as the sales lead system becomes unresponsive. I open my SSH connection, run the MongoDB startup script and say “It’s back up, Brad.”

I get alert emails on IO usage on the servers nightly; the swap file is killing the disk. For some reason, our single MongoDB instance shuts down a few times a day. Logs pointed to the DB running out of memory, which was supported by my slowing database calls and huge IO overhead.

The obvious short-term answer to our out-of-memory errors was to upgrade to a bigger server instance for more swap space, however I knew this wouldn’t improve database performance of any one operation.

There is nothing more painful when trying to debug a hard problem as realizing that you can’t see anything - you are entirely blind. Mongotop and mongostat tools are a bit arcane and don’t give the big picture view. Ultimately my research for MongoDB monitoring led me to try MMS - MongoDB Management Service.

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