Very Slow Performance - Virtual Cabinet

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  • Updated 3 months ago
  • (Edited)
We use the APS suite of software and recently installed Virtual Cabinet. While all of the teething problems are by no means ironed out, we are experiencing moderate to severe performance issues across both APS and VC, and this is also branching out to other programs that have VC add-ins.

First thing in the morning everything works well, then as the day progresses, things start to slow down. This includes actions as simple as clicking on the debt tab of APS which may take up to two minutes to open, to clicking on a word document in VC and having the computer totally not respond while you wait a minute for it to open. The problem is much worse on our 3 newer (and faster) computers which have Office 2016 installed and extremely bad on the one with the pro version. Some relief has been felt by completely closing and reopening Outlook and VC and any other Office software.but this is hardly convenient.

Is this a known problem, and if not, what are some steps we can take to try and isolate what the cause may be?
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Louise Mathers

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  • v. frustrated

Posted 3 years ago

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Rav, Community Manager

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Hi Louise,

I've just had a word with the APS team in regard to your post. They're keen to have a chat with you to look into the issues you've raised here, there are however a few elements to diagnose so might be best suited to a call rather than this medium.

Any chance you could give the APS team a buzz when you've got a moment.

Cheers
Rav
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Dan Beck

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Hi Louise,

Could be several things from the SQL server that runs the database and the data connections to local machines (not all the work is done on the local computer), to locally installed applications.

I would start by contacting APS support as they may be able to help troubleshoot more effectively than I.  I would start looking at the utilisation on your SQL server and local machines.  We for instance run a separate SQL servers for APS and VC (although by no means mandatory).  Check for high CPU utilisation, check there is enough memory.  I was also check the versions of Practice Management you are on, are they up-to-date.

Next we have found a few issues with Office 2016 being slower than Office 2013 on our test server, so it could be office causing some of the issues on the newer and faster machines more so than APS itself (not supporting the slowdowns, just my observations)

In terms of VC, we found some slowdowns in searching and returning results in VC and it was linked to fragementation of the indexes on the SQL server.  APS support was able to provide a script that we ran that speed up searches.

Hope that is a little bit of help Louise.

Cheers
Dan
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Andrew McLean

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We have had similar issues since the introduction of Virtual Cabinet but overall it has gone well.  You may find that your gradual degradation of performance may in fact not be related to VC but Tax Manager. We have found that Tax Manager does not release memory back to the system and simply continues to consume memory as you open and close tax returns.  We therefore have staff close Tax Manager and Central Console a few times a day to release the memory back again.  Another issue may be the number of search results you have VC set to return, we have reduced ours from the 1000 which was set during implementation to 500.  While this sometimes means that not all client documents are displayed it does force you to refine your search criteria.  Another thing that we have setup is a weekly SQL task to rebuild the VC indexes which had an immediate impact when first done.
(Edited)
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Louise Mathers

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Thank you all so much for your quick and informative responses.

I currently have an open ticket with Reckon support to address various issues with VC but have not mentioned this particular one just yet. I had mentioned it previously under another ticket I had with APS and was told that the issue was normal, but the introduction of VC has exacerbated the problem quite a bit. Rav, I will call Reckon this afternoon and log a support call specifically for this issue.

Hi Dan - nice to hear from you again. Hope Toowoomba is treating you well. I miss the APS support group and hope to see it resurrected in the future.  Our IT tech has been alerted to the problem and informed me of a few ideas he had to check CPU utilisation and possible memory issues and I'm sure he will include the SQL server in this check but I will ask him anyway.

We are working with about 130,000 documents in VC and have only had it running for about a month. I didn't realise that such a small amount of documents and use would result in fragmentation of the indexes. I will be sure to make mention of that script when I am speaking with support.

Andrew that is an interesting idea re tax manager. I must admit I noticed central console taking quite a bit of memory but by far the biggest and quickest hog we have is Outlook (or Chrome if you add up all of the processes). Pre VC I could get by without rebooting for weeks and never really needed to close programs. Now I know I really should reboot and close regularly but that takes time! Now, I'm finding I need to close Outlook, client console and VC several times a day and have rebooted 3 times this week already. Tax manager barely registers a blip on anyone's computer radar though.

I will look into the advantages of reducing the number of search results. Right now I believe everyone is fairly precise when it comes to searching as they are still unsure about the program. However, you are right, a reduction will force the user to refine the search and who has time to look through 1000 results anyway?

May I ask about rebuilding the VC indexes on the SQL server? This may be something else that I can do periodically throughout the day if it doesn't impact on everyone's use while executing.

Regards

Louise
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Dan Beck

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Hey Louise,

I'm not sure when the next user group is, but we do love them!  This thread be a good point to bring to the next group for knowledge sharing and getting more people active on these discussion boards.

The VC scripts won't need to be run daily, but can be set as part of a maintenance plan on the SQL server to run say on a weekly or monthly basis at night.  The index defrag had a major impact the first time it is run and then minimal when run weekly (as they never get too fragmented then).  We have close to a million documents in VC and have the results showing 1000 records.

Let me know if you run into any troubles and I'm happy to give your IT guy the specs of our hardware of our SQL server if it aids in troubleshooting.  We use terminal servers not PC's so that might not help as much on the front end applications.

Also, let us know when you get a solution, interested to find out what is causing the issue.

Cheers
Dan
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Louise Mathers

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Update:

Our IT tech has looked into a few possible causes for the performance issues we are all experiencing. He found a couple of items worth looking into based on examination of the server and the points raised here on this thread.

A major problem appears to be our memory. The server has 8GB and while it was typically only using 60% of that prior to Christmas, the server is now using over 90% at times during the day and consistently over 80%.

Obviously, before we do anything else, extra memory must be added as a matter of priority. If we increase the memory and the majority of the issue disappear, then we will know the cause of the problem.

I will call APS after the upgrade to enquire about the scripts as they sound like an absolutely essential addition to the server for ongoing maintenance.

Increasing the memory will not correct the separate issues we are having with Office 2016. It is a little disappointing that documentation we were provided with prior to implementation of VC indicated that compatibility with Office 2016 was not an issue. However, as long as we remember to close Outlook several times a day, the frustration is kept to a minimum.

Jamie also found that VC seems to be putting considerable load on the hard disk usage on the server which may be slowing the server down a bit more than usual. There's not a lot that can be done there however.

We do really like VC. It has great potential for our firm and we are excited to see what it can do for us.
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Krunal Patel

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piece of work, no respect for app optimisation, bugs every where and works on lots of patches.. 
(Edited)