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Detecting Timed-Out Client Requests for Avoiding Livelock and Improving Web Server Performance

A Web server's listen queue capacity is often set to a large value to accommodate bursts of traffic and to accept as many client requests as possible. We show that, under certain overload conditions, this results in a significant loss of server performance due to the processing of so-called ``dead requests'': timed-out client requests whose associated connection has been closed from the client side. In some pathological cases, these overload conditions can lead to server livelock, where the server is ``busily'' processing only dead requests and is not doing any useful work. We propose a method of detecting these dead requests and avoiding unnecessary overhead related to their processing. This provides a predictable and controllable platform for web applications, thus improving their overall performance.

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