General help

Windows server: Issues with new Windows Moodle install

Picture of Simon Trendell
Windows server: Issues with new Windows Moodle install

Afternoon all,

I'm attempting to resolve a major issue I've started encountering with a 2 week old Moodle installation we have. The install has been done with the following:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (Intel Xenon, 12GB)
  • IIS 7.5
  • PHP 5.3.19 via FastCGI
  • Wincache 1.1
  • MS SQL Server 2008 R2 (Seperate Server)
  • Microsoft SQL Server Drivers for PHP 3.0
  • Moodle 2.2.6+

The initial configuration was done using the following resource as a guide:

Originally, everything seemed to work fine. The only issue was backup and restore not working on large SCORM modules which while annoying isn't a large issue for now.

Then yesterday while attempting to update SCORM modules one module wouldn't update and continued until IIS timed out which was still set high from trying to resolve the backup/restore issue. The same module imported into a different course imported fine. I attempted to import the module several times in various ways into the problem course but it would not import in that one course.

More annoying is that neither PHP or IIS will error at all during this process, despite .ini settings & Moodle settings being set on their full settings. It's always IIS times out and displays a 500 error. I've turned off all IIS settings that prevent PHP errors from being shown and the php error log is setup but PHP never errors.

Today I've discovered several more issues, the same course above I can no longer save changes to the course settings which has the same issue, continues until IIS times out, updating file resources also times out in the same course. Attempting to move any courses via the course administration will cause a time out and the course to not move.

While the request is working and before it times out I can get IIS to serve HTML files and PHP will process any requests that don't use the database but any PHP request that requires the database will also freeze and eventually timeout when the other request times out.

This points to me at a database or database driver issue but without any errors I have nowhere to start from.

Does anyone have any ideas of the cause or a possible solution?

So far we have tried:

  • Disabling Wincache
  • sqlsrv drivers 2.0
  • PHP 5.4
  • Pointing Moodle towards the database IP rather than hostname

Any input or help is much appreciated.

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Picture of Simon Trendell
Re: Windows server: Issues with new Windows Moodle install

An afternoon of scratching heads appears to have gotten somewhere on this issue.

Firstly, running a query against the mdl_course table while trying to update a course would only return the first two rows and hang on executing until the request timed out. Course ID 3 was the course that was experiencing the worst issues.

Restarting the SQL Server solved this and alot of actions that hung before the restart completed themselves once the database was back.

However, the same issue then happened again a short time later. This time we found in the activity monitor alot of hung queries from backup attempts. Removing the first of these cleared the backlog in activity monitor and immediatley the course settings update went through.

Hopefully this should now be the end of this for now but we'll continue to monitor this for a while. My theory is the failed backup attempts I originally made were clogging the sql server when they kept trying to re-run.

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