Post-mortem

The Umlaut “launched” last Monday. I wouldn’t call it the most graceful of take-offs, but I think it’s pretty much working now.

We immediately ran into a problem with ProQuest as a source. ProQuest sends a query string that starts with an ampersand (“&ctx_ver=foo…”) which Rails strongly disliked. Thankfully, it was still part of the break, so traffic was light. It gave me the opportunity to isolate and fix the myriad little bugs that could really only have been found by exposing the Umlaut to the wild and crazy OpenURLs that occur in nature. Ed Summers talked me into (and through) patching Rails so it didn’t choke on those ProQuest queries, although we later saw that the same patch was already in Rails Edge. It’s nice how hackable this framework is, though.
There was also a bit of gaffe when my trac project went ballistic after being crawled by Googlebot bringing down my server (and with it all journal coverage and our Zebra index of the OPAC — this nice little denial of service just so happened to bring down the Umlaut, as well). As a result, the trac site is down until I can figure out how to keep it from sending my machine into a frenzy (although I’m in the process of moving the Zebra index to our Voyager server — as I type this, in fact — and the Umlaut will be able to handle its own journal coverages tomorrow, probably).

There was also a bit of a panic on Friday when the mongrel_cluster would throw 500 errors whenever it would serve a session from another server. Ugh. Little did I know that mongrel_cluster must not use Pstores to save sessions. I scaled back to one mongrel server over the weekend (which of course, was overkill considering the umlaut was crapping out on the webservices my desktop machine wasn’t providing to it, anyway) while I migrated to ActiveRecord to store sessions. It seems to be working fine now and we’re back up to 5 mongrel servers. Yeah, hadn’t even thought about that one…
Yeah, it wasn’t perfect. But all in all, no catastrophes and it was nice having the safety of class break. So, for the rest of the week, I can focus on getting our EAD finding aids searchable.

Joy.

1 comment
  1. Jonathan said:

    Is Umlaut open source or do you have plans to share it or sell it to others?

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