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From "Graham Frank" <>
Subject [users@httpd] Strange Problems in a Load Balanced Environment
Date Sun, 02 Mar 2008 21:38:55 GMT
Hey all,


A week ago a very strange problem surfaced on our network almost out of the


We have three web servers which are load balanced using Zeus ZXTM.  Each web
server runs Redhat Enterprise Linux 5.0 x86-64 with Apache 2.2.8 (worker
mpm) and PHP 5.2.5.  All web data (document roots, etc) are pulled off of
our NFS file server.  Each server has the exact same configuration as the
other web servers.  This setup worked for six months.


Last week Friday we had an odd issue where all of the sites appeared to no
longer be making persistent links to MySQL, so we forced the use of
mysql_pconnect() (by removing the if-then-else and flag to set pconnect or
not) and the problem was solved.  However, at the time we did this web3
stopped being able to process requests.  All of the threads in Apache would
stay in the "WORKING" state and eventually we'd reach the MaxClients.  Web1
and Web2 did not and have not experienced this problem.


That night, we decided to bring two more web servers into the mix and we set
them up the same way as the two working servers.  But they too are
experiencing this problem.   So at this time, we have web1 and web2 taking
90% of all traffic and web3 taking 10% (anymore and the connections pile up,
etc).  All three servers also have identical hardware specs (dual xeon 5345,
12gb ram).


When this issue occurs, the following happens.  On all of our MySQL servers,
www1 and www2 maintain an average of 50 connected threads, but www3 creates
500+.  Also, bandwidth is really messed up too.  This past week, www1 and
www2 (taking 90% load) had an average in/out bandwidth of 35Mbps on our
private network.  www3, however, while only taking 10% of the requests was
pushing 75 Mbps (mostly between it and our NFS server).


The requests coming to all three servers are identical to the requests
hitting the other servers.  The configurations are exactly the same.  The
code is identical.  


We're at a loss.  We've been over every aspect of our network and setup.  We
simply cannot figure this one out.


Anyone care to lend some advice?  We're open to anything at this point.



Graham Frank - Neoservers, LLC 

Founder and Owner

Accredited Member of the Better Business Bureau 

Ph: (608) 359-1593


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