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In a Bold Move, Yahoo! Releases Traffic Server Source Code

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In a Bold Move, Yahoo! Releases Traffic Server Source Code

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Yahoo has released the source code for its Traffic Server under the Apache Foundation Umbrella.  Shelton Shugar, Yahoo's senior VP of cloud computing, announced the move today at the Cloud Computing Expo in Santa Clara. Traffic Server is a HTTP/1.1 caching proxy server capable of handing over 30,000 requests per second per server.
"We've donated Traffic Server to Apache because we think it's a great piece of code, and we want to build a community around that in the same manner we built a community out of Hadoop," Shugar said in an interview.  Yahoo's Traffic Server consists of over 200k lines of C++ code and delivers 400 terabytes of data each day. Yahoo first acquired the Traffic Server in a merger with Inktomi.

Traffic Server is designed for handling complex routing, session and configuration management, load balancing, and authentication for high volume web sites.  Developers can use the Traffic Server's plugin architecture to handle a variety of tasks.  The release of Traffic Server is an another significant arrival of open source software packages from Yahoo.  Hadoop is Yahoo's other open source framework in the cloud under the Apache license.

Yahoo is taking some serious risks with this deal.  The company says the Traffic server is more powerful in Yahoo's infrastructure and less powerful in isolation.  It is also a risky move for Yahoo since their rivals may gain from this offering, but the company believes it will come out ahead.  Yahoo believes the larger competitors already have their own solutions for web caching.  However, the Traffic Server code may help start-ups grow to Yahoo's size.

Yahoo's program could also produce big gains in the long run. Open-source packages could lead to a high-powered, more standardized Yahoo infrastructure.  In an increasingly competitive market of large-scale web sites, Yahoo's Traffic server has proven it's worth.  The long term goals of the project include adding native IPV6 support, making the software fully 64-bit, and porting to Unix systems beyond Linux.

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