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MSMQ messages using HTTP just won't get delivered #1

Here’s an unusual problem that you shouldn't expect to bump into and the solution is potentially painful.

Scenario

You want to make use of the HTTP protocol to send MSMQ messages from one machine to another. You have installed HTTP support for MSMQ and have addressed your messages correctly but they will not leave the outgoing queue. There is no configuration for HTTP support - setup has already done all that for you (although you may want to check the most recent "Installation of the MSMQ HTTP Support Subcomponent" section of MSMQINST.LOG to see if anything DID go wrong) - so you can't tweak anything. Restarting services and servers makes no difference - the messages just will not get delivered.

The problem is documented and resolved by Knowledgebase article 916699 "The message may not be delivered when you use the HTTP protocol to send a message to a server that is running Message Queuing 3.0". It is unlikely that you would be able to resolve the problem without the assistance of PSS because there are no messages that can be seen to assist you and only access to the source code exposes the root cause.

As this communication is over HTTP, the IIS logs would be a good place to start. POST entries are logged which show that connectivity is working and message delivery is being attempted:

#Software: Microsoft Internet Information Services 6.0

#Version: 1.0

#Date: 2006-09-12 12:11:29

#Fields: date time s-sitename s-ip cs-method cs-uri-stem cs-uri-query s-port cs-username c-ip cs(User-Agent) sc-status sc-substatus sc-win32-status

2006-09-12 12:12:12 W3SVC1 10.1.17.219 POST /msmq/private$/test - 80 - 10.2.200.3 - 200 0 0

If you capture the traffic with Network Monitor you can see the POST being sent to the server but you also see a response being returned to the client:

HTTP: Response to Client; HTTP/1.1; Status Code = 500 - Internal Server Error

"Internal Server Error" means we can probably stop looking at IIS and instead focus on the Message Queuing ISAPI extension (Mqise.dll). MSMQ 3.0 (Windows XP and Windows Server 2003) comes with error logging enabled by default but the log files are in binary format - MSMQ 2.0 generated logging in plain text. The symbolic information needed for formatting the files is not currently publicly available so log files have to be sent in to Microsoft PSS.  Although this does mean raising a support case, formatting the log files to text and returning them to the customer shouldn't take long. Obviously the engineer analyses them for you - I just want to point out that you can see the logging output in text format if you want it.

The important entries in the log for this problem are:

[7]b48.928 09/12/2006-13:20:44.552 [mqise GetNetBiosNameFromIPAddr] ERROR:Failed to get the NetBios name from the DNS name, error = 0xea

[7]b48.928 09/12/2006-13:20:44.552 [mqise RPCToServer] ERROR:RPC call R_ProcessHTTPRequest failed, error code = 1702(RPC_S_INVALID_BINDING)

which allow a Microsoft escalation engineer to check the MQISE source code to see what is going wrong.

This problem according to the article occurs when the extension tries to bind to the local MSMQ service after the extension receives a POST request that contains an MSMQ message. MSMQ resolves the server name by using the DNS host name but the extension cannot bind to the service because the buffer that MSMQ uses to resolve the server name is too small - server names that are exactly 15 characters long will not fit. RPC exception 0x6a6 (RPC_S_INVALID_BINDING) occurs in the W3wp.exe process but the exception is handled and so you do not receive an error message.

The workaround is to rename the MSMQ server to something less than 15 characters. If the problem has only just been noticed in a production environment - an application may have been modified to get through a newly-implemented firewall, for example - then renaming is going to be an issue. Other applications may need to be reinstalled or modified if server names are hard-coded or stored in the registry. The renaming may also break a company naming convention where the name is built up from something like location+department+number.

If you want to learn more about MSMQ logging then check out Chapter 15 of the MSMQ FAQ. In fact, even if you DON'T want to learn anything about MSMQ logging you should read the FAQ anyway as there is a huge amount of useful information on known issues and the like.


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