Of Code and Me

Somewhere to write down all the stuff I'm going to forget and then need

When two problems appear at the same time no matter how seemingly unrelated, they probably are September 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rupert Bates @ 10:02 am

I’ve seen two examples of this in the last few days.

Firstly we have an Asp.Net website which has recently moved to a new datacentre and seemed to be working well, but then the other day it fell over big time and the event log started filling up with errors about deadlocks in the aspnet_isapi.dll and faults in the W3SVC service. We googled away and just came up with some thing about thread contention and upping the maxWorkerThreads parameter in the machine.config which I didn’t want to do without understanding why this had suddenly become and issue.

At the same time somebody noticed that printing no longer worked in non Internet Explorer browsers, but we ignored that to focus on the more serious stability issue. It was only when I gave up on the first error and looked into the printing bug that I worked out what was going on. The printing page for Non IE browsers tried to make an http request to another page on the site to load the image it was trying to print. Stricter firewall rules in our new datacentre meant that this http request was being blocked meaning that the thread that was trying to make this request was also blocked until the request timed out, and this was what caused both the printing problem and the threading deadlock.

The second example of this maxim is a bit less high tech; my washing machine started leaking water through the door and we noticed the seal was a bit torn. At the same time it kept stopping with an error message (yup, even washing machines have them now) about the filter being blocked (which it wasn’t). It turns out that the loss of pressure from the leaking water affected its ability to pump out water, so it thought that the filter was blocked (that may not be 100% accurate, but when it comes to washing machines I’m not technical).

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