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SPEC Announces SPECweb96

Industry's First Standardized Benchmark for Measuring Web Server Performance

MANASSAS, Va., July 22, 1996 -- The Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC) announces SPECweb96, the first standardized benchmark for measuring the performance of World Wide Web servers. SPECweb96 was developed by SPEC's Open Systems Group (OSG) in conjunction with leading Web product vendors and research organizations.

"SPECweb96 represents industry leaders agreeing on a single benchmark with a standardized implementation and workload," says Kaivalya M. Dixit, SPEC president. "As a result of SPEC's methodology, SPECweb96 is the first benchmark that can be used to make apples-to-apples comparisons of Web server performance."

SPECweb96 is targeted at system vendors, software vendors, and customers seeking performance data for Web server purchasing. In its initial release, the benchmark focuses on server performance for static Web pages, measuring the ability of the server to service HTTP requests or "gets." One or more clients are used by SPECweb96 to send the HTTP requests to the Web server. The software then measures the response time for each request. At the end of the benchmark run, SPECweb96 calculates a metric based on overall throughput, measured as maximum benchmark operations per second.

The SPECweb96 workload is based on analyses of server logs from a variety of popular Internet servers and some smaller Web sites. To further validate the workload, data from the analyses was compared to logs from Netscape and CommerceNet. Workload files are divided into four classes according to size, from less than 1 KB to slightly less than 1 MB. Access patterns to the files were determined according to the analyses of server logs. The access analyses reflect real-world usage for a Web service provider, with certain files being more popular than others.

Initial SPECweb96 results are available immediately on SPEC's World Wide Web site ( ). Subsequent results will be posted on an ongoing basis following SPEC's two-week review cycle.

SPECweb96 is the first step in the quest to provide benchmarks that portray Web server performance as accurately as possible. It is strictly a Web server benchmark; it does not measure Web client, Web client/server, or WAN performance. Future SPECweb releases are expected to address features such as encryption, multimedia, CGI and Keep-Alive performance.

"This first release gives the industry something it hasn't had to date: a tool by which to make performance comparisons based on a specific, standardized workload," says Alexander Carlton, SPECweb96 release manager. "Major Web server vendors have agreed that this is a valid test, but we all know we have plenty of work to do to continually improve the benchmark and to try to keep pace with the rapid development of the World Wide Web."

Organizations involved in the development of SPECweb96 include CommerceNet, Digital Equipment Corp., HAL Computer Systems, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Netscape, OpenMarket, Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme, Silicon Graphics, Spyglass, and Sun Microsystems.

SPECweb96 is scheduled for public release in late August. It will be available on CD-ROM for $800. The benchmark's developer, SPEC, is a non-profit corporation formed to establish, maintain and endorse a standardized set of relevant benchmarks that can be applied to the newest generation of high-performance computers. SPEC member groups include the Open Systems Group (OSG); OSG Associates, consisting of leading universities and research facilities; the High-Performance Group (HPG); HPG Associates; and the Graphics Performance Characterization (GPC) Group. For more information, contact Dianne Rice, SPEC, 10754 Ambassador Drive, Ste. 201, Manassas, VA 20109; tel: 703-331-0180; fax: 703-331-0181; e-mail: .

Press contacts: Bob Cramblitt, Kimberly Rengle Cramblitt & Company 919-481-4599;

Enclosed: Initial SPECweb96 results