Replication for Web Hosting Systems

Replication is a well-known technique to improve the accessibility of Web sites. It generally offers reduced client latencies and increases a site’s availability. However, applying replication techniques is not trivial, and various Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) have been created to
facilitate replication for digital content providers. The success of these CDNs has triggered further research efforts into developing advanced Web replica hosting systems. These are systems that host the documents of a Web site and manage replication automatically. To identify the key issues in designing a wide-area replica hosting system, we present an architectural framework.

The framework assists in characterizing different systems in a systematic manner. We categorize different research efforts and review their relative merits and demerits. As an important side-effect, this review and characterization shows that there a number of interesting research questions that have not received much attention yet, but which deserve exploration by the research community.

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