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From "Bill Stoddard" <>
Subject Re: What Apache admins want (Was: mod_include performance numbers)
Date Mon, 23 Apr 2001 03:32:37 GMT
Good stuff, Thanks!


> Hello,
> Just wanted to add to Jeff's comments about what folks running Apache want.
> Here's some background.
> I work at Tellme--we run a consumer voice portal (1-800-555-TELL) and also
> host voice services for enterprise customers. Our ENTIRE INFRASTRUCTURE is
> HTTP based. When a user calls into our service, they instantiate a virtual
> voice browser which fetches VoiceXML code from HTTP/HTTPS. All of our data
> feeds, etc. are exposed as XML over HTTP. This gives us tremendous
> flexibility to interoperate with almost any system.
> Internally, we use Apache almost exclusively. We have lots of mod_perl
> applications running and also some JSPs; some of our older or less
> commonly used stuff is written as CGIs. I'm the Apache guy at Tellme; I
> develop code, but also maintain lots of Apache servers.
> We use Apache because it is stable, configurable, interoperates with so
> many application server technologies, and because it is widely used, well
> understood, and open source.
> We aggressively cache stuff, so the speed isn't as big of an issue for us.
> Our biggest concern by far is stability. We are aiming at 99.999% uptime,
> and as our entire service is based on HTTP, the servers are clearly an
> important piece of the puzzle.
> Now for static VoiceXML and audio files, Apache is rock solid for
> stability. In the dynamic arena, things are more complicated (there are
> mod_perl and JSP engines to deal with, and SSL is a big headache of
> itself), but Apache itself has never introduced a complication of its own
> (the 3-second CGI delay bug notwithstanding, but we're willing to forgive
> CGI bugs since we don't rely on them for performant stuff).
> So, the number one thing we want out of a webserver is that out of the
> box, serving static files, it never crashes or burps. The second thing we
> require from a webserver is that it can be hooked up immediately to
> different application serving technologies--mod_perl or various JSP
> engines for example.
> Configurability is also a requirement, but I'm almost 100% sure I don't
> need to tell Apache authors that. :)
> Finally, of course, it's a requirement that performance and scalability
> must be "good enough." Apache doesn't need to be as fast or scalable as as
> Zeus webserver, just pretty fast and scalable in its own right. In many of
> our particular situations we just buy more boxes and chuck 'em behind fast
> load balancers instead of relying on monolithic huge servers.
> Just another report "from the trenches." Sorry if it distracts from the
> (highly interesting) code-update discussions. Feel free to reply
> personally rather than to the list if this is OT.
> Humbly,
> Andrew
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Andrew Ho     
> Engineer                   Voice 650-930-9062
> Tellme Networks, Inc.       1-800-555-TELL            Fax 650-930-9101
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------

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