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From David Birnbaum <dav...@chelsea.net>
Subject protocol/2385: microsoft proxy server and apache 1.3 don't seem to get along
Date Mon, 08 Jun 1998 23:37:41 GMT

>Number:         2385
>Category:       protocol
>Synopsis:       microsoft proxy server and apache 1.3 don't seem to get along
>Confidential:   no
>Severity:       serious
>Priority:       medium
>Responsible:    apache
>State:          open
>Class:          sw-bug
>Submitter-Id:   apache
>Arrival-Date:   Mon Jun  8 16:40:01 PDT 1998
>Originator:     davidb@chelsea.net
>Release:        1.3b7
Solaris 2.5.1, all recommended patches as of 5/31/98, built with gcc 2.7.2
A client of ours was reporting strange slowness getting to our web sites.  No cause could
be found, BUT client was coming through Microsoft Proxy Server 2.0, which was immediately
suspect.  Symptoms are:

1.  When the person tries to connect, first couple of connections (the page and the first
one or two gifs on the page) load immediately; after that, each connection (page/GIF) loads
at 15 second intervals, two or three at a time.

2.  Problem can be replicated at will to all of our websites, all of which are running 1.3b7
at the moment (www.wssource.com, www.chelsea.net).

3.  When a client is bringing up other sites (www.sun.com, www.microsoft.com) WHILE we are
talking to our site, they are slow.  As soon as our page finishes coming in, things speed
back up to normal.

4.  Our log shows connections coming in at a suspiciously regular interval of about 16/17
seconds, with generally 3 connections per bunch.

5.  Looking at server-status shows various connections are open coming from the proxy server.

6.  The server gradually appears to speed up as graphics are cached, but as soon as a page
with more than two or three new (non-cached) requests is hit, it's clear the same problem
is occuring.

The current guess is that, for some reason, the Proxy Server does not close the connection
after the initial request.  Since it's limited to a fixed number of external requests, if
a web site has a lot of graphical images (like ours does) the number of external requests
are quickly saturated, and requests are the backed up.  I'm guessing that Apache chops off
the connection after a delay of perhaps 15 seconds, so the proxy server can then open up the
next request to the site.  This cycle continues until the web site has been pulled all the
way in.  This matches the symptom of the site gradually speeding up as the images are cached,
but new pages don't pop up as quickly as they do for other proxies.

Has anybody else reported this bug specific to the Microsoft proxy server?  I have searched
the web, the Apache database, and the Microsoft site for information about this, but nothing
about slow connections through a proxy server specific to Microsoft Proxy Server and Apache
have turned up.
The problem can be replicated on demand...if you have the proxy server!  I don't have a copy,
but the same behaviour shows up to my web sites as well as to www.apache.org (which I assume
is running Apache!) so I don't think it's anything specific to do with my configuration.
I was reading through the various documentation about lingering close, disabling keep-alives,
etc, but since it's not clear if this is an Apache bug or a Proxy Server bug (not that Microsoft
would fix it anytime soon) I decided to submit some bug reports and see if anything comes
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