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Separation of hardware by firewall - problems?

Bill Pearce
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Hi all,
We have several applications which are web based and located at a co-lo facility, separated from our provate network by a firewall. The firewall protects the application servers from the internet and our private network from the application servers/internet. The problem we have faced (numerous times) is that any application which opens a stateful connection (whether JDBC to our internal database or a socket connection back to another server) is cut off from the machine it is connected to at strange times (resulting in "Conenction reset by peer").
I an fully aware that if traffic is not sent over the wire for a specified length of time, the firewall is expected to close the connection, but this is not during long periods of idle time.
My questions are: Has anyone faced similar issues with connecting through a firewall (ours is CheckPoint) to another resource (like a database) and maintaining that connection? If not, can anyone validate my theory that for the most part this is not the preferred way of doing things? Seems like what I have read would indicate that it's better to have the application server and database server on the same local network together. Anyone have any references on this I can use?
Any help appreciated.
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