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Web-Server Benchmarks

Several benchmark suites are being developed to rate Web servers: WebStone from SGI, SPECweb from SPEC (Systems Performance Evaluation Committee), MiWeb from Microsoft, and Netperf from Hewlett Packard. All are quantitative, performance-based benchmarks.

WebStone, maintained by Silicon Graphics, is a UNIX-based performance test that measures the raw throughput of a standard HTTP workload. It measures two main variables -- latency per second across the number of connections per second. Other data, such as throughput in bits per second, can also be collected. The benchmark itself uses a client/server architecture, and each client runs a configuration file that tells it which server to connect to, how long to maintain the connection, and which URLs to fetch. The WebStone benchmark is currently available from the Silicon Graphics Web site; see "Online."

SPECweb measures the response time for server requests across a number of different workloads. It sends HTTP requests to the server based on defined workload parameters, and calculates the overall throughput at the end of a run. Among the workload information that the benchmark takes into account are request rate and request type, file set, database transactions, security, and slow networks. The SPECweb benchmark should be available by the time this reaches print. Email any questions to info@specbench.org.

Netperf is a more general measure of the performance of a network. It works with both UNIX and Windows NT, and provides a measure of the latency between request and response of generic transactions across a TCP/IP network. While not specifically designed for Web-server benchmarking, it can be used to test the performance of such a server across a network. Information and source code are available from the Hewlett Packard Web site; see "Online."

Microsoft's MiWeb is a Windows NT benchmark designed to measure the maximum capacity and throughput of a Web server. It simulates traffic from up to 100 clients, and increases the transfer rate until connections can no longer be made. At the end of the run, it will report on the maximum throughput. At the present time, MiWeb is a Microsoft internal benchmark. It may be made available for independent testing in the future. Microsoft engineers have indicated their willingness to do so, but the benchmark is not yet in kit form.