INTERMITTENT WEB SERVICE FAILURE AT MAJOR UK INSURANCE COMPANY
Support Manager, Insurance Company
Our customer provides a business-to-business (B2B) service to allow insurance brokers to submit quote requests. One of the brokers uses this service to submit three variations of a quote request at the same time. Intermittently, one or more of the requests failed but if re-submitted a few minutes later, the requests would work. The problem was extremely intermittent – often with only one or two failures each month.
We monitored the front-end web servers hosting the web service. We also created a test script to poll the web site more frequently and so were able to generate a much higher rate of failures. Consequently we were able to pinpoint the cause of the problem in a few days.
Analysis of the data showed that the problem was caused by a crash during initialisation of a web server application pool. This was traced to a security plugin.
The Infrastructure team configured the front-end web servers to suspend rather than terminate the idle application pool.
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