We currently use changesets to deploy to production for apex classes and configuration items. It is taking a long time for deployment because the validation on the production org takes a longer time to accomplish this. I know i can easily do a validation using ant to cut down the validation time but unfortunately the end user team does not allow this.Is there anything we can do to cut down the time taken to do the validate task for changesets in the production org? Buyan
Changeset deployment usually does not have SLA and what you have experienced is an expected behavior. Deployment time will always vary and how long one deployment takes to complete does not become a benchmark on how long it'll take to complete another
There are times when changeset deployment will hit a legitimate issue such as gack or a lock and when those occur, Salesforce support can definitely investigate and escalate to have the issue rectified. However in few cases the deployment doesn't hit any gack or lock.
If it took this long to complete may possibly be link to the the many post release patches Salesforce.com have been rolling out, as when a patch goes out active requests like changesets are temporary put on hold and resumed when ready, other possible causes of extended deployment time are size/types of component being deploy and how it affect/changes the org, heavy traffic on the instance or simply multiple deployment / validation holding up the total overall deployment process in the org.
However we need to remember there are no SLA with changeset, but if you want to deploy quicker and have more control over their deployment, then IDE / ANT is the way to go.
It is my opinion that validating components set from eclipse takes less time than validating from web interface.
If your end user team allows then you can deploy changed components by using eclipse. I recommend use of eclipse if you have some bigger validation and deployment job. For small change sets web interface is easier.
And there are no shortcuts or no control over the validation or deployment time in org. As it is systematic process and depends on complexity of classes and number of components.