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The two major strategies used to construct high-performance Web servers are thread pools and event-driven architectures. The Java platform is commonly used in Web environments but up to the moment it did not provide any standard API to implement event-driven architectures efficiently. The new 1.4 release of the J2SE introduces the NIO (New I/O) API to help in the development of event-driven I/O intensive applications. We evaluate the scalability that this API provides to the Java platform in the field of Web servers, bringing together the majorly used commercial server (Apache) and one experimental server developed using the NIO API. We study the scalability of the NIO-based server as well as of its rival in a number of different scenarios, including uniprocessor, multiprocessor, bandwidth-bounded and CPU-bounded environments. The study concludes that the NIO API can be successfully used to create event-driven Java servers that can scale as well as the best of the commercial native-compiled Web server, at a fraction of its complexity and using only one or two worker threads.
Date of Conference: 15-18 Aug. 2004