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Subversion 1.5 and Performance Improvements

This weekend we launched two important updates on Beanstalk: Upgrade to Subversion 1.5.5 and major performance improvements to the web interface. Learn about the upgrades, how it affects your account and a few known issues.

Upgrade to Subversion 1.5.5

We upgraded all Subversion servers to SVN 1.5.5. With this update you can now take advantage of Merge Tracking and many new features in the latest Subversion release. To make the conversion process painless, we added a simple tool to the Dashboard for account owners. Once the upgrade is activated, all repositories in your account will be upgraded to SVN 1.5.5. We also run svn-populate-node-origins-index, which is new as of Subversion 1.5, and behaves as a cache to vastly speed up certain history-querying operations. This process only takes a few minutes to complete.

Major performance improvements

Beanstalk has been steadily growing since we launched. Along with the growth, performance has been a constant challenge. While the speed of our SVN servers have been solid in recent months, our web interface for browsing files, viewing activity, and reviewing changesets have been slow. All of this ended during this weekend’s release.

We identified the issue two weeks ago and narrowed it down to the Ruby SVN bindings. Along with updating the bindings and refactoring code, we also improved caching. The results have been fantastic! In some cases larger repositories that used to take 20 seconds to load (ouch!) now load in under a second.

You may notice pre-caching notices when going to a repository. We had to setup this process to cache your repository on the servers. This ensures your repositories load quickly in the future.

Known issues and troubleshooting

With an upgrade of this size, we have noticed a few issues. Here are some known problems and what you can do.

Receiving a 403 Forbidden error in SVN.

In some cases we have seen this happen. During the 1.5 upgrade some AUTH files were corrupted. While we think we fixed it, if you experience this issue just update your account password by going to “My profile” after logging in. Another thing that can help is to do a fresh checkout of the repository.

Pre-caching takes too long

A few cases of pre-caching taking too long have occurred. If you think the process is taking too long, please contact us and we will take a look.

Delay in the commit activity page

The cache is set to a short time frame. However, we are noticing longer delays in some accounts. We’re working on this and it should be resolved very soon.

We really hope these updates show our commitment to making Beanstalk the best hosted Subversion service available. Your feedback has been crucial in helping us improve and we greatly appreciate it.