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Alfresco 3.2 is very slow with operatins on many small files

Question asked by dirkvdzee on Sep 1, 2009
Latest reply on Nov 5, 2009 by mroessler
Hi all,

We are currently evaluating Alfresco for our organisation and some of our customers.

Everything is working fine and robust except for one thing;
When copying more than 1000 small files to the Alfresco server via CIFS, the average speed goes down to less than 58KB p/s over a local LAN.
Eventually even connection errors sometimes appear.
Afterwards, deleting the files from the server is also very slow, although somewhat faster then copying.
Copying a 300MB file happens at a speed of 9.9MB p/s, which is really fast.
We thought about missing indexes on tables (meta-data), but monitoring the database server showed very short running queries.
Another factor can be the priority of the Lucene indexing process.

The performance is so bad that it is a real show stopper.
We have tried everything we could think about.
Does anyone have some clues for us?

Thanks in advance,

Below you find an extended description of the things we tested:

The test machine is an Intel E2180 Pentium Dual core 2GHz 800Mhz FSB processor with 2GB internal memory and 160 GB SATA harddisk.
It is running Ubuntu server 9.04 including all fixes.
Alfresco 3.2 is an Out-Of-The-Box (alfresco-community package) installation with CIFS and SharePoint enabled.

There is one simple test we do. We copied a many (mostly) small files via CIFS to a newly created folder on Alfresco.
* A bandwidth monitor showed an large increase in speed when a big file was being copied and almost a flat line with smaller files.
* Deleting the files from Alfresco is somewhat faster, but still very slow.
* The performance is better (but not great) when copying the files from Alfresco to a local machine.
* As stated before, one big 300MB file copies with an average speed 9.9MB p/s.

We installed Samba, tested the speed and got the following (normal) figures.
The 300MB file is copied at 10.3MB p/s and a few hundred smaller files give an average of 7MB p/s.
As you can see, when streaming one big file there is very little difference between Alfresco and Samba.
Of course file access under Alfresco will always be slower when compared to Samba, but not to that extend.

Other things we tried and found no (positive) differences:
* Relocating the database to external database server
* Different (new) content stores
* Local access (mount) versus network access
* The FTP protocol was slower

Finally we compared a completely different software configuration. We booted the same machine with Windows XP and installed Alfresco 3.2.
Copying the 300MB file revealed a speed of 6.9MB p/s.
This is 30% slower compared to Linux, but this is probably due to the speed difference between Linux and Windows.
Although with slower performance, the other test gave the same picture as the Ubuntu configuration.