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A Hierarchical Internet Object Cache

Anawat Chankhunthod, Peter Danzig, and CHuck Neerdaels
University of Southern California

Michael F. Schwartz and Kurt J. Worrell
University of Colorado, Boulder


This paper discusses the design and performance of a hierarchical proxy-cache designed to make Internet information systems scale better. The design was motivated by our earlier trace-driven simulation study of Internet traffic. We challenge the conventional wisdom that the benefits of hierarchical file caching do not merit the costs, and believe the issue merits reconsideration in the Internet environment.

The cache implementation supports a highly concurrent stream of requests. We present performance measurements that show that our cache outperforms other popular Internet cache implementations by an order of magnitude under concurrent load. These measurements indicate that hierarchy does not measurably increase access latency. Our software can also be configured as a Web-server accelerator; we present data that our httpd-accelerator is ten times faster than Netscape's Netsite and NCSA 1.4 servers.

Finally, we relate our experience fitting the cache into the increasingly complex and operational world of Internet information systems, including issues related to security, transparency to cache-unaware clients, and the role of file systems in support of ubiquitous wide-area information systems.

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