guideline for name-based web hosting justification

Mury mury at
Tue Sep 12 02:52:36 EDT 2000

Dear Alec,

Since you basically called those of us pointing out some real issues
"whiners," I took the liberty of finding out a little bit more about
you.  It looks like you are probably a fairly bright person, probably a
lot smarter than me.  From looking at your web site though and reading
your comments below I question how much you really understand what you are
talking about when you trivialize some of the issues that have been
brought up.

I also find it interesting that in your presentation to the 11th NANOG
meeting that you did with Avi Freedman (Isn't he working for Digital
Island now?  Or one of the other distributed content providers) you are
supporting a technology that not only assigns an IP address to a web site
but assigns multiple IP addresses to a single site.  Perhaps I didn't
decipher your presentation correctly, but it sure seems like you are
supporting performance/service level issues above and beyond IP
conservation.  Ah, I hear it coming, that each distributed node can handle
multiple distributed sites off of a single IP.  Very true.  Do you know
what the ratio of managed sites to in-service systems is?  How many
locations is Akamai in?  I really don't know what the IP "waste" ratio is.  
But the point is you are supporting performance at the expense of IP
addresses however large or small that may be.

In addition, you even argue against yourself.  You say, "For example,
don't do all of the parsing at once at the end of the day; modify the
server to keep a running tally of a customer's usage and have it write
that alone to a file on the disk every time it changes.  Far more
efficient.  That's just off the top of my head, and probably not a really
efficient way to do it."

What?!  How can it be *far more efficient* and then in the next line it's
*not a really efficient*"  Can you see why I'm not very thrilled with your
off the cuff and seemingly inexperienced comments?

By making light of some real issues that were brought up it sure seems
like your statements are hypocritical.  Now like I said, I'm not the
smartest guy out here, so if I've badly misrepresented things I apologize
in advance.

Bottom line, for every one out there saying it's no big deal to do single
IP virtual hosting I would like to see a solution that does not sacrifice
reliability, accountability, quality of service, and functionality.  I
hate it when people (even smart people) start voicing opinions on things
they don't understand.  

I'm also not stubborn.  I'm not running things the way I do because it's
my way, but because they work, they are scalable, they are functionable,
and we have zero down time.  I've tried Microsoft IIS.  It doesn't work.  
Well doh, of course it works, but not for a company that demands uptime
and security and a fast and simple database.  I have to reboot co-located
IIS machines all the time.  My BSDI/Apache/MySQL/Perl/PHP/Raven boxes have
had zero downtime in the last 3 years.  That is not an invitation to hack
or DOS my network.  But thanks for thinking about me.

And like I said before, when appropriate we have assigned multiple sites
to a single IP.  We actually do it by sending all requests into a CGI
script that grabs the HTTP_HOST env variable and creates the customized
web site on the fly with MySQL.  So yes, we are trying to conserve IP
addresses, we are not greedy, whiny bastards trying to screw the Internet
up for everyone else.

For those of you running Apache that want to know how to do it the right
way, go to:

Cool!  Now we all know how to do name based hosting... er, wait... what
about all those HTTP/1.0 browsers!?  You don't think they exist any
more?  Check this out.  In fairness I sampled all my virtual hosts off of
one server from a selective time period.  All my logs files are in the format.  Here are my commands and results:

webserver3: {17} % grep 'HTTP/1.1' www.*.com | wc -l
webserver3: {18} % grep 'HTTP/1.0' www.*.com | wc -l

48.4% of the browsers out there that accessed my customers' sites used
HTTP/1.0.  For the uninitiated the 1.0 version of the HTTP protocol does
NOT support name based hosting.

Can I tell all my customers to call you when their online business drops
by almost 50%.  By the way, can you use a shared IP for secure server

Some more thoughts...

Look at some of the new comers to the tech scene, Keynote, Akamai,
Speedera, Digital Island, etc.  These company's success show how important
it is to the world to have fast, reliable, and secure web sites.  Quality
of Service (in its broad definition) is paramount.  And if you don't
believe that you can make a fortune by shorting the stock in those

I don't want to see any more comments that I should be doing things
smarter and better.  I want to see explanations of how I can accomplish
the things that you say are so easy.  Like I said I'm not stubborn... show
me the way.  If you can't, then please refrain from making popular
political statements that don't affect YOUR business and your customers'

There's my not so bright, whiny, long-winded $10 worth.

GoldenGate Internet Services

PS.  If you are such an advocate for IP conservation why do you have a
whole block?  I can't tell how many IPs you are wasting because your
provider has not swipped your block.  But you have multiple web sites
running on multiple IPs!  What's your excuse?




Pretty interesting web sites I might add.

If you are going to call someone a whiner you better have your own act
together.  The hypocrisy is killing me.

Like I said, I'm sure you are smarter than me, but stick to what you know.

On Mon, 11 Sep 2000, Alec H. Peterson wrote:

> Mury wrote:
> > 
> > Yikes!
> > 
> > Have you ever tried to parse up to 1000 log files per system, with some of
> > them around 500MB in size.  It's not nearly as easy as it sounds.
> It is if you change how you write and parse your logs.
> > 
> > For some people it's feasable, but for most of us we *need* IP based
> > accounting.
> > 
> > By the way, we are setup to do a large number of URL's pointed at a single
> > IP for some hosting applications, but for the majority of our sites, it is
> > not an option.
> Can't say that I have tried it.  However at the same time I can think of
> quite a few ways to make the task far easier and faster.  For example, don't
> do all of the parsing at once at the end of the day; modify the server to
> keep a running tally of a customer's usage and have it write that alone to a
> file on the disk every time it changes.  Far more efficient.
> That's just off the top of my head, and probably not a really efficient way
> to do it.  My point is that the Internet is made up of a lot of smart people
> who are more than capable of solving these issues if they feel like it. 
> Whining about how today's methods of accounting won't work with tomorrow's
> methods of virtual hosting is a lot like complaining about how yesterday's
> chalk writes really poorly on today's white boards.  If you don't want to be
> left behind you have to keep on evolving.
> After all, where would we be today if dial-up providers decided that it was
> too much work to use dynamically allocated IP addresses and kept on giving
> each user their own IP address?
> However, name-based virtual hosts aren't exactly a new thing.  Many large
> web hosters have been using name-based virtual hosts for a while now, so
> would any of those companies mind sharing a little wisdom on how this can be
> done?
> Thanks,
> Alec
> -- 
> Alec H. Peterson - ahp at
> Staff Scientist
> CenterGate Research Group -
> "Technology so advanced, even _we_ don't understand it!"

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