Solvedakka Akka Http: Nginx proxy error when returning large json payloads

As mentioned in this user group post:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/akka-user/aDwaI8Xia74

I'm running into an error using akka http with nginx in front of it as a reverse proxy when I return large (MBs) json payloads. The error I see in the nginx log is:

upstream prematurely closed connection while reading upstream

I created a very simple route that can reproduce this issue. That code is as follows:

  pathPrefix("api" / "proxytest"){
    (get & parameters('numberOfA.as[Int], 'chunk.as[Boolean])){ (aNum, chunk) =>  
      val bunchOfA = (for(i <- 1 to aNum) yield "a").mkString
      val json = s"""{"test": "$bunchOfA"}"""

      val entity = 
        if (chunk){
          val chunks = Source.single(json).mapConcat(_.grouped(1024*10).toList).map(HttpEntity.Chunk.apply(_))   
          HttpEntity.Chunked(ContentTypes.`application/json`, chunks)
        }
        else{
          HttpEntity(ContentTypes.`application/json`, json )
        }

      val response = HttpResponse(StatusCodes.OK, entity = entity)
      complete(response)
    }
  }

If I test this route with a get request passing in numberOfA as something small, say 500, and chunk as false everything works when I go through nginx. But if I pass in something large, like 2100000 with chunk set to false, I get that nginx error. If I pass in chunk=true, everything works. Also, if I skip nginx and go right to my server, everything works regardless of chunking and size. I also noticed that I always get this dead letter warning when I hit the nginx error:

[INFO] [01/20/2016 09:42:02.626] [default-akka.actor.default-dispatcher-4] [akka://default/system/IO-TCP/selectors/$a/1] Message [akka.io.SelectionHandler$ChannelWritable$] from Actor[akka://default/deadLetters] to Actor[akka://default/system/IO-TCP/selectors/$a/1#-229858999] was not delivered. [1] dead letters encountered. This logging can be turned off or adjusted with configuration settings 'akka.log-dead-letters' and 'akka.log-dead-letters-during-shutdown'.

This seems to imply that maybe the connection is closed prematurely in akka http before nginx thinks it's done with it.

I have also attached my nginx config (version 1.6.2). Let me know if you need anything more from me.
nginx.conf.txt

22 Answers

โœ”๏ธAccepted Answer

OK, I believe that it is a bug in 'akka X'. As far as I can tell, if a client sends header Connection: close, akka pushes data to tcp channel and promptly closes the connection (without waiting for ACKs and such).

We've found a work-around using nginx. Basically, you have to force HTTP 1.1 with Connection: keep-alive. In order to do so, you need to:

  upstream your-service {
    keepalive 100;
    server akka-http-box:port;
  }

# (...)

  location /your/location/ {
    proxy_pass       http://your-service/;
    proxy_http_version 1.1;
    proxy_set_header Connection ""; # important bit: without it nginx will send "Connection: close" anyway
  }

Hope that helps someone out there...

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