Running on NT, Web Server Benchmarks, and other things

I have had a tough week, so bear with me: a combination of pre-Interop PR-blitzkreig, some unidentified flying illness, Yet Another Snowstorm, and the switchover to a new web hosting provider all make me feel like Robin Williams was just let out of his bottle after 10,000 years.

Yes, after months of careful planning and preparation (well, maybe not so careful), I am finally running my Web site on O'Reilly's WebSite on a Compaq (donated directly from them, thanks fellas!) running NT. It feels something of a denouement, but you might notice that you can now search the entire site (or at least, that portion of the site that I've indexed).

The server is located near the World Trade Center in downtown NYC, running on Sohonet's network. Sohonet is a small ISP that does just web hosting, and just on NT. My thanks to David Goodman, Bob Matsuoka, and others for their assistance in getting this all done. You can thank them too by taking a look at my sponsors page.

Why did it take me so long to get up and running on NT? Well mainly because Unix offers so much, and to replace it completely (which is what I intend to do eventually), I have to do more than just bring up a web server. There is the email part of the equation, handling my domain name, and dealing with the mailing list program that sends this out, just to name a few things. After all that, managing the web piece is actually pretty simple. And before you fire off a letter telling me of your favorite NT program, realize that under Unix, it is all part and parcel of the base OS.

I spent the better part of last week at a new test lab run by an old ex-Novell friend, Jan Newman. Jan and I (along with Barry Gerber, now back at UCLA) were instrumental in doing the first "topology shootout" for PC Week back in September 1989 comparing Ethernet, Token Ring, and Arcnet performance. (Ethernet won, but because of better network drivers.) Now Jan has his own 200-node network which has all sorts of automation tools and smart people called KeyLabs. We were using it to test various web servers for an upcoming article in c|net's on-line magazine. While I can't tell you the results, I can tell you that they were surprising. If you want more information on the labs, drop a short note to Jan.

Speaking of benchmarks, I've been collecting links to various places around the net that report on comparing the performance of various web servers. While some of them are very self-serving (Vendor X pays for tests that show that X's server is the fastest...), some are worth taking a look. I'll have more to say when the piece runs on c|net's site at the end of April.

Self-promotions, sitekeeping, etc. department.

I wanted to let you know about a new service that I have begun to offer my consulting clients: executive speaker training seminars. Being a frequent speaker myself, I've decided to put together an intensive one-day off-site workshop (with follow-up time) that involves video taping and analyzing up to six of your executives with the goal to improve their delivery and content. I've teamed together with Nancy Hickok, who has trained her share of public speakers (as well as doing plenty of her own speaking) and has the video production background to complement my technical one. Drop me a note and I'll send you more information if you are interested in this service.

Dirk's missive on the changing distribution model between Netscape and Microsoft that ran in Web Informant #17 caught the attention of Mary Morris, noted author and long-time webmeister. You can read their exchange of comments at this link.

And always, I've been busy writing various articles:

A new article in Forbes ASAP magazine on how to manage a Web site once it is up and running. Given that I wrote this about three months ago, it is amazingly current and worth reading.

A short article in Home PC magazine on some lessons learned from putting computers in our schools, drawing heavily on my experiences with the Port Washington district. The link above is a somewhat longer piece than what was published in their April issue.

And, while I can't be sure, I hope to see several reviews that I wrote for Infoworld in next week's Interop issue.

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David Strom
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