Characterizing Reference Locality in the WWW
de Oliveira, Adriana
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Citation (published version)Almeida, Virgilio; Bestavros, Azer; Crovella, Mark; deOliveira, Adriana. "Characterizing Reference Locality in the WWW", Technical Report BUCS-1996-011, Computer Science Department, Boston University, June 21, 1996. [Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/1587]
As the World Wide Web (Web) is increasingly adopted as the infrastructure for large-scale distributed information systems, issues of performance modeling become ever more critical. In particular, locality of reference is an important property in the performance modeling of distributed information systems. In the case of the Web, understanding the nature of reference locality will help improve the design of middleware, such as caching, prefetching, and document dissemination systems. For example, good measurements of reference locality would allow us to generate synthetic reference streams with accurate performance characteristics, would allow us to compare empirically measured streams to explain differences, and would allow us to predict expected performance for system design and capacity planning. In this paper we propose models for both temporal and spatial locality of reference in streams of requests arriving at Web servers. We show that simple models based only on document popularity (likelihood of reference) are insufficient for capturing either temporal or spatial locality. Instead, we rely on an equivalent, but numerical, representation of a reference stream: a stack distance trace. We show that temporal locality can be characterized by the marginal distribution of the stack distance trace, and we propose models for typical distributions and compare their cache performance to our traces. We also show that spatial locality in a reference stream can be characterized using the notion of self-similarity. Self-similarity describes long-range correlations in the dataset, which is a property that previous researchers have found hard to incorporate into synthetic reference strings. We show that stack distance strings appear to be strongly self-similar, and we provide measurements of the degree of self-similarity in our traces. Finally, we discuss methods for generating synthetic Web traces that exhibit the properties of temporal and spatial locality that we measured in our data.