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Shortly after the National Center for Supercomputing Applications' World Wide Web server was established, it became clear that the volume of WWW traffic would stress operating systems and network implementations in ways not originally envisioned by their designers. To support continued growth, WWW servers must manage a multigigabyte (in some instances a multiterabyte) database of multimedia information while concurrently serving multiple request streams. This places enormous demands on the servers' underlying operating and file systems. Simply put, WWW servers must become more adaptive and intelligent. This article describes the design of NCSA's WWW server and analyzes the access patterns to it. The analysis shows that scalability, protocol efficiency, and effective caching strategies are the major issues for the next generation of servers. In particular, the authors maintain that to improve performance, both clients and servers must aggressively exploit caching and prefetching on the basis of knowledge of request patterns, data types, and hardware capabilities.

T. T. Kwan, R. E. McGrath and D. A. Reed, "NCSA's World Wide Web Server: Design and Performance," in Computer, vol. 28, no. , pp. 68-74, 1995.
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