I’m in the middle of preparing my annual “Burningbird’s Bash of Etech” presentation. It will have the usual: laughs, tears, and passionate outrage and sad reflection in equal measure–not to mention, intense inspection of photographs with an accompanying “is the one with a shaved head, tattoos, bulgy chest, and eye liner a boy or a girl?” discussion. You know. The usual.
I’ve been watching the processes the last week or so, on the server and in my logs, and what I’m seeing is a lot of hits for trackbacks. And I mean a lot. Many are to Movable Type weblogs but the WordPress weblogs are getting their share, too. Now, because of whatever spam protection you have, these may not be showing up in your pages; but the pings are creating a significant strain on the database, which in turn strains the CPU and the disk I/O.
For instance, if I had trackback enabled, even with spam protection in place, each trackback requestion would still generate, at a minimum, four requests to the database and over thirty function calls. This isn’t that big a deal–until you multiply that several times a minute, and across many, many weblogs. Then repeat this daily, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, because that’s how often it’s happening.
Of course, since I’ve pulled every aspect of trackback from Wordform, the most that happens is that the web server returns a “404″ whenever one of my pages is accessed with “/trackback” appended.
I have no doubts that if this much activity is happening with WordPress, which is relatively stripped down as these types of applications go, much more is happening with the increasingly complex comment spam management in Movable Type. In addition, as Annette details in the HM thread — CGI applications such as MT spawn a new thread for each trackback request. I can say that the most limited resource on a server are these threads of execution.
I most likely will ask that my site be switched to Circe, as soon as I can. And to be honest, I’m feeling pretty damn smug for deciding to yank trackback out of Wordform, right about now. For you MT folks — if you’re not running the PHP version by now, you should be. And you also need to start pressing Six Apart into providing a PHP-based comment and trackback management system.
Or switch to new software.
Or continue dealing with problems.