A Measurement of Record Capacity and Import Rates in ACT! Databases


An experiment was done to import 1 million records into ACT! to determine its capacity and performance.  ACT! was able to import all the records and function without crashing.  However, performance time was significantly degraded, especially on scheduling tasks.  Record Import Rate (RIR) remained relatively constant during the import process.


To determine what conditions may cause ACT! to cause file corruption, cease to function, or  "explode"


ACT!'s response rate would decrease with the increase in number of records.   
The record import rate would decrease as records are appended.
The database would retain all records without data loss.


ACT! is the best selling contact management software package.  It uses the CodeBase database format, created by Sequitter Codebase    Symantec switched from the FoxPro DBF format used in ACT! 1.0 and 2.0 versions.  The DBF format is widely known as a stable data format.   The CodeBase format was chosen for its increased flexibility in terms of number of fields per record, and its reliability.  

Interact Commerce Corporation acquired the development and marketing rights to ACT! from Symantec in late 1999.  ICC President Pat Sullivan was the inventor of ACT! for DOS in 1985, sold ACT! to Symantec in 1993, then bought it back in December 1999. 


AST Premium Pentium III with 10 gigabyte hard disk

ACT! 2000 initial release by Symantec (ACT! is now owned by Interact Commerce Corporation)

Data files of random data


1. Create random data database for import

FoxPro program on ACTDEMO.DBF to character shift data by ASCII code

Database contained:

Contact records: 1,000,000 

Activities records:    22

History records: 38  of which 12 were notes

Email addresses: 5

2. Settings in ACT!

In Edit, Define Fields, Advanced tab
Disable transaction logging
Disable duplicate checking (and resulting thousands of user confirmations)
Disable history editing

3. Import 1 million records into ACT!  

Data Exchange
File Type: dBASE III-V
Contact records only
Map: basic address fields

Begun: Friday 12 November 1999  20:43:00 pm

Finished: Sunday 14 November 1999 08:44:30 am

Data - Results:

The data was intact, and records could be looked up reasonably quickly.

But Scheduling a Call, Meeting, or ToDo, it took an increasingly long time, displaying "Loading contacts..." for over 13 minutes before completely displaying the Scheduling Dialog and returning cursor and mouse control to the user.

.wpeA.jpg (25769 bytes)

Records Seconds Minutes
100000 10.93 0.18
200000 22.86 0.38
300000 33.80 0.56
400000 44.73 0.75
500000 50.69 0.84
600000 106.36 1.77
700000 250.48 4.17
800000 345.90 5.77
900000 577.50 9.63
1000000 783.00 13.05

wpeA.jpg (18446 bytes)
Time in seconds to return cursor control to the user after activity scheduling dialog

Record Import Rate

Records Seconds Minutes Hours Days RIR/second
0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
100000 13469 224.48 3.74 0.16 7.42
200000 26938 448.97 7.48 0.31 7.42
300000 39807 663.45 11.06 0.46 7.54
400000 58176 969.60 16.16 0.67 6.88
500000 68445 1140.75 19.01 0.79 7.31
600000 78714 1311.90 21.87 0.91 7.62
700000 90783 1513.05 25.22 1.05 7.71
800000 103572 1726.20 28.77 1.20 7.72
900000 116271 1937.85 32.30 1.35 7.74
1000000 129690 2161.50 36.03 1.50 7.71

wpeB.jpg (17295 bytes)

Average Record Import Rate - 7.51 records per second


The ACT! database was intact and stable at 1 million records and did not "crash."

However performance time was significantly degraded, especially on scheduling tasks.   It took over 13 minutes for the Schedule Activities dialog to return control to the user at the 1 million record mark.

The Record Import Rate (RIR) remained relatively constant during the import process, disproving the hypothesis that the rate of record import would decrease as the database increased.

ACT!'s database structure is robust, and did not  lose records due to the volume of contacts, supporting the hypothesis.


Submitted for publication in Easy ACT!, Pinnacle Publishing Company

Submitted to Technical Support at Interact Commerce Corporation

Submitted to CodeBase Technical Support

Equipment and resources sponsored by: ACT Consultants Association, Washington, DC

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