Secure Is as Secure Does
Just as all major Web servers support virtual servers, they all support SSL — just not equally well or easily. This is another area where Zeus Web Server shines. Its support for 128-bit SSL v3 encryption is designed to maximize the number of connections, and it supports a number of cryptographic accelerators. With Zeus Web Server, creating a Virtual Server with SSL capabilities is basically a wizard-like four-step process, which may include the automatic generation of an SSL certificate set for testing (self-signed SSL certificate and assigned private key). For an official Certificate Authority, Zeus Technology has an agreement with VeriSign. Zeus also offers protection against Denial of Service attacks, malformed HTTP headers, and HTTP request filtering.
Part of the Development Team
Because it is not exclusively tied to one development system (e.g., .Net, Java, or PHP) but is open to many, Zeus Web Server provides a very wide range of support: CGI/1.1, NSAPI, ISAPI, SSI, Fast CGI, Java Servlets, Front Page Extensions, and PHP-Zend. Given its roots, Zeus Web Server’s support is likely strongest for Perl and PHP. Support for Java has improved, although not to the level of Sun’s Web Server. On the whole, we believe developers will find Zeus Web Server a workable environment, albeit one not as easily integrated as a Web server tied to a particular development platform.
Keeping Up With the System
Zeus Web Server, whether stand-alone or part of a server farm, is managed through a browser-based administrative module (although scripted commands are also supported). The excellent graphical user interface is a model of simplicity, usually one page to control each feature. Among the leading Web servers, only Microsoft IIS can challenge Zeus when it comes to ease of management.
Like most other Web servers, Zeus Web Server keeps logs. There are separate logging facilities for errors and requests, and each is fully configurable.
Real-time monitoring of servers and traffic analysis have long been considered Zeus Web Server’s strong points. They are configurable and integrated within the administration module. The reporting is geared to multiple servers and sites. For example, traffic analysis can be viewed in Overview (Web servers, Virtual Servers, and Subservers), Website Comparison (e.g., busiest Web sites), and Cluster Traffic Analysis. Among the traffic monitoring capabilities is bandwidth throttling down to the Virtual Server and Subserver level, which is a built-in feature of the Web server.
Goose the Zeus
Of course, it is always possible to cobble together a similar solution with a less expensive (or free) Web server and a suite of add-ons from other vendors. For a highly tuned, high-performance, mission-critical operation, some would prefer to single-source the responsibility. That brings up the issue of service and support — no small factors under these circumstances. This is clearly a big part of Zeus Technology’s business model, so like the product itself, you should expect the level and quality of service to merit what you pay for it.
Which brings us back to the issue of price: Is Zeus Web Server worth the high price tag? We think so. Its enterprise-level capabilities, such as clustering and server management, are among the best, if not the best.
Our one caveat is that most organizations don’t spend $850 per server CPU (especially in the big multiples of a clustered server farm) for Web server software without being jack-sure they need the capabilities. For those that do, and have the expertise to take advantage of them, Zeus Web Server is a good value.
Pros: High performance; Centrally manageable for clusters and virtual server sets; Real-time usage/traffic monitoring.
Cons: Because it is squarely in the Unix/Linux world, Zeus Web Server will inevitably be involved with the controversy of proprietary vs. open source; High price.
Reviewed by: Nelson King
Original Review Date: 10/14/2004
Original Review Version: 4.3