Web server performance tests

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Reader Hale Kpetigo of Seal-America, an Internet database software company in Paris, asked me for benchmarks of Web servers that measure performance by the type of application and volume of users.

Three common benchmarks exist for testing Web server performance: SPECweb99 from the Standard Performance Evaluation; WebStone from Mindcraft; and WebBench from ZDLabs.

SPECweb99 is perhaps the most popular benchmark and the test most companies use for their Web servers. Priced at $800, SPECweb99 tests the serving of dynamic and static Web pages. It consists of a load generator that can be set for a certain volume of users and measures the maximum number of simultaneous connections a Web server is meant to support.

Any Web server software that supports HTTP 1.0 or HTTP 1.1 can be used. SPECweb 99 works under Linux, Windows NT/2000 and Unix operating systems. SPEC is a nonprofit group of system vendors, integrators and other organizations. SPECweb99 results are available at http://www.spec.org/osg/web99/.

MindCraft's WebStone is a free benchmark IT managers can download to test their Web servers. It consists of an executable program and source code that let you customize it for your use, and a WebStone community where you can contribute your changes. To subscribe to the WebStone community and mailing list, send an e-mail to imailsrv@list.mindcraft.com. Leave the subject line blank, and in the body, type "Subscribe webstone [your name]".

WebStone supports any server that runs HTTP 1.1 and can simulate load for more than 100 Web clients. Mindcraft originally obtained the WebStone benchmark from SGI, where it was used to test SGI servers. Mindcraft is an independent testing lab that also performs directory benchmarks and has experience with SPEC benchmarks. To download WebStone, visit http://www.mindcraft.com/webstone/.

Finally, ZDLabs has a popular benchmark called WebBench that can be downloaded from the Internet. WebBench measures the number of requests per second and the throughput measured in bytes per second. It reads both static and dynamic pages and allows you to build your own test suites. WebBench can test Windows NT/2000, NetWare, Linux, Macintosh and Unix Web servers.

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