I think there must be something else going on with your server. The macro loads nominally slow things down, but shouldn't cause the problems you report unless there's some looping issue with the macros or problems that you're using. We have a testing lab with about 30 machines, which in peak times are hitting the server regularly, and we don't see wait times that are even seconds long (we do have a much bigger server, of course, but I think the observation is still valid).
Can you do some investigation on the server to see if there is some additional evidence of what's causing the slow down? e.g., top, uptime, and vmstat might give some information about where things are bogging down.
I'm assuming that this is from a time when your server wasn't returning results from a gateway test. I don't see anything odd there, though I'm a little surprised that there are swapping events (for comparison, my server shows the following, albeit in an unloaded state:
procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- --system-- -----cpu----- r b swpd free buff cache si so bi bo in cs us sy id wa st 0 0 313632 5243360 766216 16049680 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 100 0 0
but I don't know if that's different enough that I would worry about it.)
I don't know of any combinations of the standard macros that would cause looping issues. The only cases where I've seen a problem is when I've gotten a problem with an infinite loop, and that generates timeouts from the server.
If you load the problems that you have in the test into a homework set and have multiple sessions submit them, do you get the same behavior? Can you shorten the gateway/quiz assignment to only one problem and elicit the same response?
Just a thought - probably not the issue.
What are the specs on your vm? Also, about how many students do you having hitting it when a gateway quiz comes due?
The grading/rendering of a gateway quiz is more resource intensive than grading/rendering a single problem, and it's probably less efficient than it could be.
We had gateways due at midnight for about 1/2 of a semester and probably at least 1000 kids working on them up to the deadline. Even our very big server was having trouble with it. (Grading/loading was taking a long time, probably not 5-10 minutes, but more like up to 5 minutes...)
Changing the due dates to 8am fixed the problem. I'd also check the apache error log and use the webwork2/bin/check_timing_log.pl script to get general timing stats on how long problems are taking to render.
Hope this helps,
/etc/my.cnf file. That said, 5000 is certainly overkill, and we had the trouble many years ago (but have been setting
max_connections ever since).