Yahoo donates Traffic Server to Apache

Yahoo is debuting on Monday an open source version of its Traffic Server software, which serves as a high-performance application server for cloud computing services.

Code for Traffic Server is available as an Incubator project at the Apache Software Foundation. In making Traffic Server open source, Yahoo hopes to build a developer and user community around the technology. The company is revealing the open source effort at the Cloud Computing Conference & Expo conference in Santa Clara, Calif. Yahoo also will announce an updated version of its distribution of the open source Hadoop distributed file system for batch processing of large amounts of data.

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Featuring a low-latency framework, Traffic Server provides services for a cloud computing stack, including session and configuration management, load balancing, authentication, and routing, Yahoo said. Web traffic can be delivered at high rates; a plug-in architecture makes Traffic Server extensible, according to Yahoo.

The software is basically an HTTP processing application and has been used for more than eight years at Yahoo. It currently serves more than 30 billion Web objects a day and more than 400 terabytes of data daily in the Yahoo network. "[Traffic Server ] allows us to speed consumer access to content," said Shelton Shugar, Yahoo senior vice president of cloud computing.

"It can process upwards of 35,000 requests per second," Shugar said. The software 'becomes open source at this point so it's available for download," he said.

Users can take Traffic Server and enable access to cached content and speed response times to requests for stored Web objects, such as files, news articles, or images, Yahoo said. Bandwidth usage and costs are reduced. Traffic Server  can be used in computing clouds, with Yahoo looking to build a significant user base around it. The software is useful to any high-volume Web site, Shugar said.

"The folks who will be interested in this are people building clouds and using these services. They'll understand the value of Traffic Server and what they'll be able to with it. There really isn't much out there that compares with this from a scalability standpoint," said Shugar.

With the open source effort, Yahoo is looking to build a community around it just as it has with its version of Hadoop. "We can literally hire people and work with research institutes who walk in the door knowing the technology we use," said Shugar.

Traffic Server solves a "problem that's hard to solve," he said. With Internet usage increasing, Traffic Server can handle enormous amounts of Internet traffic, said Shugar.

Even competitors such as Google or Microsoft Bing are free to use Traffic Server if they choose, he said. But  Yahoo with the open source effort is not necessarily seeking to make Traffi Server an industry standard.  But it possibly could become one, said Shugar.

Yahoo's open source move with Traffic Server was called "interesting" by analyst Cindy Borovick, research vice president at Datacenter Networks.

"It is all about creating Yahoo Cloud as a platform that is attractive to developers," she said. " By having an open source traffic server, Yahoo is saying that the network infrastructure is important and its platform has network intelligence that will create a better end customer experience and as a result drive up customer confidence, intimacy and revenue.  It's not a deal-breaker but it is a true value-add."

The updated Yahoo Distribution of Hadoop 0.20.1, also featured in Yahoo datacenters, improves security, performance and operability. Bug fixes also are included.

"We've made some improvements that make Hadoop easier to deploy and operate" said Shugar.

This story, "Yahoo donates Traffic Server to Apache," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

This story, "Yahoo donates Traffic Server to Apache" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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