CustomTech Blog: Smoothwall Reporting - A new high performance database and a more focused set of reports

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Thursday, 18 July 2013

Smoothwall Reporting - A new high performance database and a more focused set of reports

We have seen some big changes in Smoothwall software during 2013 — and the next update is no exception This winter you will see a major upgrade to the reporting system arriving as an update. This will require some data migration - more on that later - but first, a bit of background.

Smoothwall’s reporting has always used a single relational database to hold your reporting data. This is the “database” service you see on the dashboard. Relational databases are great for structured data like your web filter logs, but of late Smoothwall has seen such an increase in log volumes, that the database management system isn’t keeping up as well as they would like. In addition, some users find that it is tricky to look after - as relational databases don’t use disk space uniformly, and don’t always give it all back when they’re finished!

So, the new reporting system is based on a new methodology, a sharded database. It still has elements of the old system, but it is much quicker and easier on the housekeeping. Smoothwall believe you will find the improved speeds and reliability a boon for report generation - and you can expect to see improvements in the reporting itself going forward on this new platform.

Now to the interesting part: migration. There are two things to note. Firstly, a small number of historical reports are no longer available - those which related to obsolete features. Over time Smoothwall may replace these with improved variants but, for now, let us know if you’re missing a report you really need.

The second important aspect is migrating your data across. The old database will be dropped completely, and a new one recreated from existing log files (for those in a cluster environment, child log files will be reimported). If you are one of the few customers who retains more data in the database than in the logs, you will migrate less data than you currently store. If you are concerned about any potential data loss, please contact us. Apply this update carefully!

We hope you find the improvements Smoothwall are making useful - and please continue to provide feedback to Smoothwall at smoothwall.uservoice.com (where a new reporting forum will be available later in the year).