Goals of the www.washington.edu Environment
The environment for www.washington.edu is quite different from a stock web server environment. The goals for this environment are to provide:
To achieve these goals, the www.washington.edu development environment differs from a single-server single-daemon development environment. The major differences are:
- hosts which only serve HTTP requests which contributes to:
- security (no other users, therefore no user data to be compromised),
- performance (no other processes competing for cycles),
- reliability (no unwanted interaction between HTTP and other daemons),
- availability (more than one server; broken servers can be hidden from people accessing data within 5 minutes), and
- scalability (minimal effort to add extra hosts as needed),
- daemons which are as secure as possible,
- complete support for these daemons and hosts,
- a host to do compute-intensive preprocessing and postprocessing of data, offloading that burden from the actual HTTP servers,
- multiple classes of service so developers can tailor information to several target audiences,
- system administration and tools to aid developers with document preparation, and
- an environment in which developers on different clusters can share not only files, but experience and ideas.
- Instead of being one system, www.washington.edu is a cluster of servers. This means that developers do not have direct access to these hosts, but to another host which distributes information to the www servers. There is also a host on which compute-intensive preprocessing and postprocessing of data can be done. In addition, a log-searching mechanism exists so developers can view the access and error logs.
- There are both development and production environments.
- Within each set of servers, there are several access trees (with corresponding servers for each) which present different information depending on from where the client is connecting.
- The server will listen on the default HTTP port (80) and automatically determine the level of access which should be granted.
- The Apache httpd daemon has been enhanced from the stock Apache httpd (version 1.1) to include document root path searching, cgi-bin searching, and document filtering, among other features.