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USENIX Symposium on Internet Technologies and Systems, 1997

Study of Piggyback Cache Validation for Proxy Caches in the World Wide Web

Balachander Krishnamurthy
AT&T Labs - Research
Craig E. Wills
Worcester Polytechnic Institute


This paper presents work on piggyback cache validation (PCV), which addresses the problem of maintaining cache coherency for proxy caches. The novel aspect of our approach is to capitalize on requests sent from the proxy cache to the server to improve coherency. In the simplest case, whenever a proxy cache has a reason to communicate with a server it piggybacks a list of cached, but potentially stale, resources from that server for validation.

Trace-driven simulation of this mechanism on two large, independent data sets shows that PCV both provides stronger cache coherency and reduces the request traffic in comparison to the time-to-live (TTL) based techniques currently used. Specifically, in comparison to the best TTL-based policy, the best PCV-based policy reduces the number of request messages from a proxy cache to a server by 16-17% and the average cost (considering response latency, request messages and bandwidth) by 6-8%. Moreover, the best PCV policy reduces the staleness ratio by 57-65% in comparison to the best TTL-based policy. Additionally, the PCV policies can easily be implemented within the HTTP 1.1 protocol.

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