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More database updates to ClearCheckbook

9/15/2011 in ClearCheckbook Updates
I just wanted to give a little more clarification on what's going on behind the scenes and why you experienced some extreme slow downs this morning.

ClearCheckbook has over 20 million transactions stored in its database for over 180,000 users. In extremely simple terms, whenever you load your ClearCheckbook account, the site has to dig through those 20 million+ transactions to grab yours. As time goes on, this takes longer and longer as more transactions get added to the site. We want to keep the site running as quickly as possible so we came up with a couple solutions, the best of which was to archive transactions for people who hadn't signed on in a while.

Last night we started a script that would take some of those 20 million transactions for people who haven't logged into the site in a while and move them into a different table, one that doesn't need to be called when we're pulling up your transactions. (Don't worry though if you log back in and you haven't been on in a while, we have it set up to automatically restate all the archived transactions for your account if they exist).

Some time during the night, our database has a command that runs periodically to rebuild indexes and maintain associations. This is something the database does on its own to keep its own speed up. When that started running in conjunction with our archive script, it really started to bog down the database because tens of thousands of transactions were getting archived at a time and the script was trying to continually re-index all the tables at the same time.

We didn't catch what was going on until a little while ago, so we killed both our archiving script and the "autovaccuum" script the database was running and things have returned more or less to normal.

We're sorry for the disruptions this has caused. Rest assured your data is safe as we always perform a full backup before running any updates like this. Our overall goal is to keep this site running as quick as possible to let everyone get instant access to their finances. We're sorry we dropped the ball on this one. We won't let the same thing happen again.

Brandon O'Brien
CEO / Founder of ClearCheckbook

Original Post:
Last night and continuing for the next few nights, we will be running some database updates that are aimed at speeding up site performance. These updates revolve around archiving transactions for members who haven't logged into the site for a while. This will help speed up the site because there won't be so many unused transactions taking up space in the database.

The script from last night ran a little long and if you tried visiting the site early this morning you may have noticed some slow loading pages. We have fixed this so it won't happen the next time we run the script.

Comments for this post:

database updates
I am having some trouble with the site today. Its very buggy, slow & I have to keep clicking refresh for it to update my balances. This is the first problem I have had with the site in ages.

by criket1220 on Sep 15, 2011
Thanks for the update. I love clear checkbook and have been using it since around 2006 or 2007 under this name and another older log in name that I used to have here. Like I said this was the first time that I can remember in years that it was slow and having a few problems. I wasn't complaining just letting you know :) Keep up the great work and I wanted you to know that I appreciate and rely on this site so much.

by criket1220 on Sep 15, 2011
Account Balance
Since the current update i have noticed that my account is off by over $200. Is there any way that this update can be causing it?

Thanks in advance.
by xicanofamily on Sep 16, 2011
still slow...rebuild those indexes/stats!
it's still pretty slow this morning....hoping you guys restarted the index rebuilds after you killed the archving...

don't know what DBMS you used under the hood, but you might also want to look into partitioning to help spread the load. Most DBs have it, though you often have to pay extra. The EclipseLink has some support for doing it app-side for a cheaper option.

you guys hiring a DBA anytime soon? ;) lol good luck, archiving is always a fun one, especially that first initial run.
by dihicoder on Sep 16, 2011
Account Balance Issue since your update
I am having the same issue as xicanofamily. Since the update, my account balance changed significantly. Is there any way you can restore for us back to before you did your update?
by jdedwards13 on Sep 16, 2011
If your balances are off, just click the Refresh Balances link under your balances. That's what the link is for. It goes through and rebuilds your balances automatically for you.

Sorry for the issues.
by SiliconTrance on Sep 16, 2011
Slowness and Bug
Thanks for the update regarding the latency issue. I have notice a different problem which has occurred in the past and happened again the last two days. Here's what I did:

On a rare occasion, when I "jive" a transaction my balance does not update to reflect the jived transaction. Jiving and un-jiving the transaction does not fix the problem. I found that temporarily renaming the account and then naming it back to its original name updates the balance information. I hope this helps. The last two days have made this problem occur more often on all my accounts.
by ccalle on Sep 16, 2011
Still seeing performance problems
Still finding the site to be slow and buggy today. Love the product, but the slowness over the last few days is getting a little frustrating - especially if I need something quickly or have limited time to enter transactions. Hope it's resolved soon!
by jmcmixx on Sep 16, 2011
Thank You for the update and keeping us up with the current status. This is not meant to be a complaint, more of an FYI:

Server is still slow for me, but more importantly, for almost every transaction I enter, I lose the page and get "Internal Server Error" page that shows up.

Thank you for your hard work and I know this site will be back to its maximum operating level in no time.
by PHishHead on Sep 16, 2011
Site is still abnormally slow today
by ab4scherer on Sep 16, 2011
Zero Balances and Missing Accounts
I am showing zero balances for all my accounts using the Android app (have logged out and back in). However, all transactions are showing. Also, using the website, only one of three accounts is showing. Are there still problems with the service?
by megadude2112 on Sep 16, 2011
Warning "Are your balances wrong?"
I get it. Is it possible to remove the "Are your balances wrong" warning? Or at least add some configuration to remove it. It's getting annoying.
by avrahamr on Sep 26, 2011



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