On the server that I set up a couple days ago, there’s a rails app running with passenger on ubuntu 8.10. It’s using SQL Server as its database.

Today, I got a report from a user that it was serving up 500 errors. Not good.

Looking at log/production.log I found that the DB connection had gone stale. (The actual error was “08S01 (0) [unixODBC][FreeTDS][SQL Server]Communication link failure”.) Evidently, patch Tuesday happened this week (as evidenced by the OpenNMS notifications in my inbox and the windows update dialog on my PC about needing to RESTART NOW), so the SQL cluster had been rebooted.

I restarted the app, which resolved the problem, but wasn’t looking forward to future restarts due to SQL cluster activity. I wanted to make it so the app would not fail ever due to a stale DB connection. Could I tell passenger to restart if it got a 500 error? Could I tell rails to retry if the connection is stale?

Thinking back to my recent JRuby on Rails work, I remembered a suggestion from Nick Sieger for releasing ActiveRecord connections. It’s more necessary when using a connection pool (i.e. when running on a J2EE server, and using a JDBC connection pool), but it should also keep my connections from going stale because, well, the connection won’t be around to go stale.

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