Dynamic Server Selection in the Internet
Crovella, Mark E.
Carter, Robert L.
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Citation (published version)Crovella, Mark; Carter, Robert. "Dynamic Server Selection in the Internet“, Technical Report BUCS-1995-014, Computer Science Department, Boston University, June 30, 1995. [Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/1573]
As distributed information services like the World Wide Web become increasingly popular on the Internet, problems of scale are clearly evident. A promising technique that addresses many of these problems is service (or document) replication. However, when a service is replicated, clients then need the additional ability to find a "good" provider of that service. In this paper we report on techniques for finding good service providers without a priori knowledge of server location or network topology. We consider the use of two principal metrics for measuring distance in the Internet: hops, and round-trip latency. We show that these two metrics yield very different results in practice. Surprisingly, we show data indicating that the number of hops between two hosts in the Internet is not strongly correlated to round-trip latency. Thus, the distance in hops between two hosts is not necessarily a good predictor of the expected latency of a document transfer. Instead of using known or measured distances in hops, we show that the extra cost at runtime incurred by dynamic latency measurement is well justified based on the resulting improved performance. In addition we show that selection based on dynamic latency measurement performs much better in practice that any static selection scheme. Finally, the difference between the distribution of hops and latencies is fundamental enough to suggest differences in algorithms for server replication. We show that conclusions drawn about service replication based on the distribution of hops need to be revised when the distribution of latencies is considered instead.