A recent post discussed modules within the LabWare LIMS and about not getting too crazy with downloading and installing things. Today’s post gives one example of how you can kill your system performance with one simple combination. This is an issue for just about any software, really, but here’s a specific example using the LabWare system.

Lot Manager Example

Most of you probably know how to kill your system pretty easily by misusing Lot Manager but I’m going to give this example for all the people who haven’t yet tried this. I don’t know why, but it seems like everyone needs to do this one time to learn the lesson.

First of all, while the last post was about downloading modules, Lot Manager is a standard module that comes right in the LabWare LIMS (i.e., it doesn’t need to be downloaded). And, in addition, you can kill other LIMS by doing things like what I’m about to suggest. So, I’m not trying to pick on LabWare but this is such a classic and easy example to give that that’s what you’re all getting, today.

The “How To” Part

First of all, Lot Manager doesn’t look like much. It doesn’t seem to have many features. It’s disarmingly simple-looking. But for what seems like few features, it’s powerful and is not that easy for new users to properly configure.

The issue is that new users want to associate every sample to the manufactured lot that has any relation to the lot. And that’s how they kill their system performance.

This is where experienced users come in and point-out that Lot Manager’s main feature is that it is doing constant checks for lot updates. In that, it is extremely resource-intensive. As you add more and more information for it to check (i.e., any sample that is connected to it) and it will increasingly slow-down. You can watch it happen. If you’re curious, just start adding 10-20 samples, maybe 100 if you’ve got a super-efficient system, and you’ll see your system slow to a crawl before your eyes (please do this in your personal DEV not in one you’re sharing with other people and NOT, please NOT NOT NOT your production system!!!).

The final solution to this is that only a handful a samples can truly be linked to Lot Manager. Where the concept is lot release, only use a handful of samples for lot release in the LabWare LIMS. For any other sample that is associated with the lot, such as your stability samples, your clinical samples, or any other larger group of samples, find other ways to make reference to them without directly using the Sample.Lot field.

My Point, And I Do Have One (or More)

My point is that some modules and features look harmless but can easily cause serious issues within your system (you wouldn’t even believe how many people have taken their first look at LabWare Lot Manager and then told me that it basically doesn’t do anything and is harmless). Thus, a little caution never hurts.

Another point is that, whenever there’s doubt that you could adversely affect other people, take it off-line and try it out in your personal DEV copy so that other people can get their work done.

And yet another point is that I hope you’re not trying these out in your Production system. Regulated or not, it’s just the worst idea. It just is! Please don’t do it!! Sometimes complete recovery isn’t going to be possible, and you’ll find out why when you come across some of the unexpected situations out there, such as hiccups in backups, and all sorts of other bad things that happen when you most desperately need them not to.

So, to that person sitting there thinking that, since no-one else is using the system, right now, that it won’t hurt to give this a quick try – JUST DON’T DO IT!

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises