Chapter 1
Design of high performance, scalable, and dependable Web servers has become a
critical issue in coping with the increasing use of the Internet in supporting various Web 
based services. As network bandwidth is improving faster than the server capacity, Web
servers are anticipated to be the bottleneck in hosting network based services [22]. It has
been observed that Web servers contribute to about 40% of the overall delay [44] and
this delay is likely to grow with the increasing use of dynamic Web content. Although
several hardware and software scale up techniques have been proposed to enhance the
performance of single node servers, these are not viable long term solutions considering
the fact that online users are growing at a rate of about 90% annually [22]. Figure 1.1
shows that the number of active servers and reserved host names is increasing greatly in
past ten years [55].
In view of this, cluster based Web servers/data centers are envisioned as a cost 
effective solution that will meet these requirements. The advances in cluster design,
system area networks (SANs), and efficient user level communication mechanisms [36, 30,
75] have made cluster based services attractive from both performance and economical
standpoints. Recently, a multitude of network services have been designed and evaluated
using cluster platforms [74, 66, 43]. Specifically, distributed Web server design has been
a major research thrust in improving throughput and response time [12, 13, 58, 49].



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