Apache as a Service Hub

, Sep 17, 2007

Via both Mike Herrick and Patrick Logan comes this link to a post by Erik Onnen on Apache HTTPD:

If RESTful architectures catch on and people start to see the web as a series of resources, Apache HTTPD’s role will continue to grow. It’s high time we stopped looking at Apache HTTPD as just a web server and started viewing it as an HTTP Gateway.

The Apache web server is not exactly famous for its small footprint (both in terms of configuration and runtime), but I agree it’s a very viable option for many scenarios.

On September 18, 2007 3:30 PM, Ryan Tomayko said:

Stefan said:

The Apache web server is not exactly famous for its small footprint …

Yea but httpd is super tiny compared to anything commonly labeled “hub” or “bus” or anything typically considered “middleware” in the Enterprise. I’ve seen EAI / service bus stuff that could fit all of httpd in the palm of its hand.

That’s what I find so interesting about the enterprise Java market — the least complex solutions are often orders of magnitude more complex than the software people in UNIX hacker land consider large and bloated.

On September 18, 2007 4:06 PM, Santiago Gala said:


I agree with Ryan Tomayko, also to notice that your trackback seems to be disabled but it is advertised both in auto discovery comment and in the visible HTML.

On September 18, 2007 8:12 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Thanks, I forgot to disable the advertising of it when I disabled trackbacks due to lots and lots of spam.

On September 18, 2007 8:14 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Of course you’re both right — it’s all a matter of perspective. Compared to a typical ESB or application server product, HTTPD is tiny. Compare to Lighty or Mongrel, it’s not …

On October 2, 2007 6:54 AM, Erik Onnen said:

Apache HTTPD’s footprint all depends on how you configure, compile and and how you measure memory usage.

Often, footprint measurement for Apache is inaccurate. People look at top or ps output not realizing that the majority of reported memory is shared among all processes, not unique to a process.

Apache can run with Async I/O just as Lighty can and consume a small amount of actual pages, all depends on how you configure it. In all the testing I’ve done, Lighty slightly lags behind Apache HTTPD in terms of total request handling latency when configured similarly (async I/O, epoll, etc.)

Also, I guess you get what you pay for. Apache HTTPD is capable of several tricks that Lighty can’t do for scaling up and enhancing reliability (shared SSL symmetric keys for example). Lighty is often good enough, but it’s not really the end all of HTTPD serving. Limited DAV support and limited virtual hosting compared to Apache HTTP come to mind.