Some LocalView Intranet performance tips

LocalView Intranet is a web mapping product developed and sold by ESRI UK, predominantly to local councils. The current version (as of August 2009) is 2.1 SP2, supported on ArcGIS Server 9.2 SP5. The following are some straight forward tips for improving it’s performance:

  1. The ArcMap document (mxd) defining each map service is critical to every aspect of LocalView performance. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Start with a few, simple layers and test the responsiveness of the site, particularly with simultaneous users.
  2. You’re only as fast as your slowest layer. Test your mxd separately with MXDPERFSTAT. For an overall quick map response, with many concurrent users then you should aim for a worst case 0.5-1.0 second draw time per layer.
  3. File Geodatabases are very fast. Hold as many layers as you can (all if possible) locally in a File Geodatabase. Small latencies in the data access add up, and you may be surprised at the performance gain, perhaps 50% or higher.
  4. Minimize the number of tasks you assign to each role, don’t assign every task to every user. Each task added increases the cost of starting a new session.
  5. Don’t enable the navigation overlay, if you can avoid it.
  6. LocalView is written in ASP.NET, using the Web ADF. To maintain your session these use ViewState extensively. With each request the ViewState is sent from the browser to the server and back. This has a performance impact, particularly on high latency network links. To keep the ViewState manageable keep the number of layers and tasks to a minimum. To monitor the ViewState use Firefox with the ViewState size addon. For LocalView I consider a 2 kB ViewState small, a 20 kB ViewState on the large size, and a 200 kB ViewState very large.
  7. Within the MXD hide any attributes that are unnecessary. Each visible attribute contributes to the size of ViewState. However, do not hide the spatial column - it is necessary for the correct function of LocalView.
  8. Read and understand the articles listed in Top Ten Most Helpful ArcGIS Server Help Topics Countdown. But don’t spend too long reading about the map cache, LocalView won’t use it.

Once you’ve taken care of the above, there are some more esoteric

  1. Enable HTTP Keep-Alive in IIS. LocalView makes a lot of GETs and POSTs, and establishing a new connection for each one is unnecessary.
  2. Enable persistent Kerberos Integrated Authentication. If you’re in an Active Directory domain and using Integrated Authentication, then the default configuration of IIS and Internet Explore may double the number of requests made by the browser. NB: You must still set EnableKerbAuthPersist whether you have the hotfix or SP2, the Microsoft Knowledge-base article doesn’t make this clear.
  3. If your server has CPU cycles to spare, enable HTTP compression for both static and dynamic content. This should reduce your network traffic significantly. Follow the instructions at Coding Horror. The bulk of LocalView traffic is from dynamic content, unfortunately.
  4. Choose the image format of your map carefully. On a large monitor, each map zoom could result in a 1 MB image being generated. If your data is mostly vector and pre-rendered rasters (e.g. OS 1:50000), then 8-bit PNG should suffice. If you are using scanned maps, or aerial imagery in your map, then JPEG may be better.
  5. Check what requests and responses are happening, with Firebug for Firefox andFiddler for Internet Explorer. Bare in mind that they may behave differently, depending on your proxy and authentication settings.
  6. If you can choose the browser, then I’ve found that Firefox 3 is most responsive, then Internet Explorer 7, and Internet Explorer 6 is the least responsive. Particularly, IE 6 can freeze for many seconds at a time.

To enable integrated authentication within Firefox, the following 2 items should be configured within about:config:

  • network.automatic-ntlm-auth.trusted-uris
  • network.negotiate-auth.trusted-uris