DataPower is not able to connect to a backend device, which generates the following log message:Wed Mar 22 2017 22:31:49 <0x01130006> mpgw(TEST_MPGW): tid(38886775)<9.xx.xx.xx>:Failed to establish a backside connection


I. What does it mean?

Failed to establish a backside connection is typical of failed connection attempts or timeout scenarios.

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When a TCP connection is established, there is a three way handshake that happens. The three way handshake will consist of the following:

Client sends a frame with theSYNflag setServer sends a frame response with theSYN/ACKflags setClient sends a frame with theACKflag set

For example, if you were to run a packet capture, you would see something that looks like this:


Once the TCP handshake has completed, transaction data can be sent across this connection.

If there is a problem with this TCP handshake, or the Backend Server does not respond in time to a request, DataPower will throw the "Failed to establish" error message.

It will be helpful to understand some of the typical scenarios that lead to the "Failed to establish" error message.

II. Typical Scenarios that cause the "Failed to establish" error message

The "Failed to establish" error message can be triggered from a variety of failure scenarios, for example:

Problems with DNS lookup: If DataPower does not know how to resolve the IP associated with your hostname, then it will not know where to send its request.Something downstream on the network dropping packets: If there isa firewall between DataPower and the backend that has not been configured to allow traffic between DataPower and the Backend port, it can simply drop the packets sent by DataPower.Problems with the backend itself: The backend application or device may be overloaded which causes it to respond very slowly, or not at all.

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Now that we have an understanding of expected TCP connectivity behavior and knowledge of the typical causes of this error message, we can move on to troubleshooting.

III. Troubleshooting the "Failed to establish" error message

There are several possible causes for the "Failed to establish" error message. This means that context surrounding the error message is paramount to finding root cause.

The absolute best set of data to gather for this scenario would be:

The Error Report from the default domain: Think of the error report as a dump that contains the current state of the device. In relation to the failed connection error message, we can find information regarding interface configuration, routing table, DNS configuration, DNS hostname caching status, service state and availability, object configurations, network connection status, and hardware states. The reason we want the error report to come from the default domain is because it will contain logs, states, and configurations from objects in all application domains as well.Debug Level Logs: You can create a custom log target to gather debug level logs from the default domain or change the log level through the troubleshooting page.Again, we ideally want to get the logs from the default domain because the default domain contains the networking configuration and will contain more detailed logs regarding networking issues and states. Also, the default domain has visibility of all other domains, so your application domain"s logs will also be included.A Packet Capture: The packet capture will be the most important piece of information to gather while troubleshooting the network connection issues. You can set filters on the packet capture for the hostname of the backend which the connection attempt is made to reduce the amount of "noise" in the packet capture and get a clear picture of what is happening at the network level just before your connection attempt is put on the wire.

These three sets of data paint the big picture of the networking configuration and behavior on the DataPower device while the error scenario happens and will allow for a much quicker and more-complete interpretation of the cause of the "Failed to establish" error message.

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