Few days back Manju logged a bug in CF-ORM saying 'lazy' does not work for many-to-one relation and that too on non-Windows machine. At first, I simply rejected the bug because a) ORM can not have anything to do with OS and therefore, if it works on Windows, it works on all the plaform and b) I know it works :-). But he did not agree and I had to take a look at that machine. And apparently he was right - lazy was not working ! The related entity was in-fact getting loaded immediately. (Question for you - how will you know that lazy is working or not?)
Even after seeing this, I did not believe it and asked him to replicate this on another system and he successfully showed that to me on one another system. And he agreed that it works fine on most of the configurations. The problem exists only on a few of the systems.
This got me thinking - Why would a relation get loaded immediately even after it is marked lazy? The only answer would be - if some one is accessing that lazy field and calling some method on it. I checked his code which was loading the entities to see if there could be any case, where the field would get loaded and unfortunately there was none.
And then suddenly it hit me - what if "memory tracking" is swithched on? That would access each of the field of each object recursively to compute the size of an object and that can definitely cause this. I immediately checked the server monitor and the "memory tracking" was right there staring at me in "red"! It was indeed enabled. I asked Manju to check the other system as well (where lazy was not working) and the memory tracking was enabled there as well.
So the lesson - If the 'memory tracking' is enabled on the server, the relationship will no longer remain lazy. And btw, you should enable "Memory tracking" on the server only if you need to track the memory for some troubleshooting. Memory tracking is really really expensive in terms of performance.
Another reason why it might not work for you could be - if you are sending the object to flex. Currently, during serialization, the related objects also get sent irrespective of the lazy attribute set on the relationship. We are still working on it and hopefully by the time we release, this will be fixed.