GuidesZeus Web Server: An All Powerful Solution?

Zeus Web Server: An All Powerful Solution?




One of an e-business’ most valuable assets is its Web server. For an enterprise looking for room to grow, Zeus claims to be the best choice. Zeus does have a track record in this regard, being the main Web server used by eBay, Lycos, Infoseek, and Blue Mountain. It also claims to host one out of every 35 Web sites.

At its core, Zeus Web Server uses a small number of single-threaded I/O processes, which are each capable of handling tens of thousands of simultaneous connections. Big numbers, in this case, are good. However, to keep up with the I/O processes, an organization will need either very fast equipment or a good cluster of servers.

Zeus Web Server is claimed as the power behind one out of every 35 Web
sites. Well-known Internet players such as eBay and Lycos use Zeus, and the Web server runs rings around Apache when it comes to serving massive amounts of traffic. But is this powerful server the right choice for all enterprises?

Fortunately, Zeus Web server comes native with Web server clustering support. This enables a set of Web servers to act as a single Web server for the end user and allows the load of serving Web pages to be balanced across a set of different computers and (assuming an enterprise has the bandwidth) multiple connections.

One might ask what makes Zeus different from Apache, as Apache has a larger Web presence than Zeus? Although on the surface there might not be major differences, the proof is in the code when it comes to transistors.

Apaches uses a dedicated I/O process for each connection request. This might not be such a bad thing if an infinite number of connection requests could be created, but that isn’t the case. Apache is limited to 256 connection requests. Zeus uses a small number of processes, but each process can handle, as previously noted, tens of thousands of connection requests. Even one Zeus thread can handle many more connection requests than Apache as a whole.

One should bear in mind that Zeus’ capabilities do not really shine unless there are a large number of connections. Thus, administrators will not really benefit from Zeus over Apache unless they have high traffic volume. That is why eBay, one of the most heavily trafficked e-commerce sites, uses Zeus. Zeus runs rings around Apache in terms of serving massive amounts of traffic.

Because Zeus runs primarily on Unix-based operating systems, it’s difficult to configure for administrators not familiar with the command-line nature of the Unix family. Also, compared to Apache, which is freeware, Zeus is much, much more expensive. Enterprises with high-traffic demands that wish to load balance their Web hosting across multiple servers in the future, may wish to consider Zeus despite any major problems associated with the program.

Pros: Load-balancing capabilities, Can handle high volume of traffic efficiently

Cons: High price tag compared to shareware Web servers, such as Apache, like most Unix-based products, it is difficult to configure properly

Version Reviewed: 3.4
Date of Review: 7/12/01
Last Updated: 3/11/02
Reviewed By: M.A. Dockter

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