Disabling Catalog Dto cache: maybe, don’t?

Recently (as recent as this morning) I was asked to look into a case when the Find indexing performance was subpar. Upon investigation – looking at a properly captured trace from dotTrace – it was clear that at least 30% percent of time was spending in loading the CatalogDto

This is something that should not happen, as the CatalogDto should have been cached. Also, a normal site should have very few catalogs, so the cache should be very effective. However, data does not lie – it has been hitting database a lot, and a quick check on the site settings revealed that the entire DTO cache has been indeed, disabled

 <Cache enabled="false" collectionTimeout="0:0:0" entryTimeout="0:0:0" nodeTimeout="0:0:0" schemaTimeout="0:0:0" /> 

By setting these timeout settings to 0, the cache is immediately invalidated, rendering them useless. The CatalogDto, therefore, is loaded everytime from database, causing the bottleneck.

The reason for setting those timeout to 0 was probably – I guess – to reduce the memory footprint of the site. However, Catalog DTOs are fairly small in size, and since Commerce 11, it has been smart enough to skip caching the DTOs if there is cache on a higher (content ) level, thanks to my colleague Magnus Rahl. So DTOs should not be of any concerns, if you are not actively using them (and in most of the case, you should not). By re-enabling the cache, the indexing time can be cut, at least 30%, according to the aforementioned trace.

As you might wonder, Catalog content provider still uses the DTOs internally, therefore it would load those for data.

Moral of the story:

  • The cache settings are there, but because you can, does not mean you should. I personally think cache settings should be as hidden as possible from accidental changes. Disabling cache, and in a lesser extend, changing default cache timeout, can have unforeseeable consequences. Only do so if you have strong reasons to do so. Or better, let us know why you need to do that, and we can figure out a compromise.

Episerver caching issue with .NET 4.7

Update 1: The bug is fixed in .NET 4.7.1 (thanks to Pascal van der Horst for the information)

Update 2: The related bug is fixed in CMS Core 10.10.2 and 9.12.5. If upgrading to that version is not an option, you can contact Episerver support service for further assistance.

Original post:

If you are using Episerver and update to .NET 4.7 (even involuntarily, such as you are using DXC/Azure to host your websites. Microsoft updated Azure to .NET 4.7 on June 26th) , you might notice some weird performance issues. If your servers are in Europe, Asia or Australia, then you can see a peak in memory usage. If your servers in North America, then you can see the number of database calls increased. In both cases, your website performance is affected, the former can cause your websites to constantly restarts as memory usage reaches a threshold limit, and even more obvious in the latter. Why?

It was a known issue in .NET 4.7, as mentioned here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4035412/fix-expiration-time-issue-when-you-insert-items-by-using-the-cache-ins