Re: Summary and clarification [was: Re: [htdig] Opinion of Microsoft Index Server and Netscape Compass]


Torsten Neuer (tneuer@inwise.de)
Thu, 20 May 1999 18:10:28 +0200


According to Walter Hafner:
>So, all the CS webservers are known under _at_least_ 4 different names.
>
>All in all, the TU Muenchen has about 350 webservers (physical servers,
>as well as hard and soft virtual servers), that respond to more than 600
>names.

.. which makes me shiver somehow...

>In your next mail you write:
>
> > IMHO aliases for a server which deal with the same host and the same
> > machine should generally be handled by the server itself by automa-
> > tically redirecting one base URL to the other.
>
>The servers are administrated in the faculties. While I agree with you,
>I can't force the admins in any way.

True, but most crawlers will regard to their servers as being
different machines, as far as I know of. That would make a
pretty good point in arguing for fixing the configuration of
the servers.

If they run Apache, it'd even save some disk space ,-)

>As a matter of fact, the robots _can_ be told - or rather, the robots
>can figure it out by themselves. It's just rather time consuming to
>program it. Scan the archive for my description, how it is done in
>Compass.

What you are mentioning here is more or less a "local robot" where you
can lay your hands upon. I saw too many of the big guys which are not
able at all to detect aliased servers - and in fact I cannot remember
any "add URL" form where you have the choice of setting up URL aliases
for the server you entered.

I really doubt that any robot at all will perform well on automatically
detecting the difference between an alias name (= virtual host) and a
virtual host. At least, I'm not aware of any method - by the means of
HTTP - to get this difference.

If on the other hand you're going to maintain server aliases for >300
true and >600 virtual hosts, I think you'll sooner or later get into
trouble with admins not telling you about the latest changes in their
configuration files. From my point of view, it is much easier only
to work on the "official" server names but to also have to maintain
aliases for each and every server. It is also more efficient to dis-
tribute the work for maintaining the server aliases to the local fa-
culty staffs - every local admin will sure have a minute or two in
spare to maintain her/his own aliases on the local server (at least
they have to anyway when they update the server config!) - instead
of putting the complete workload on one person.

But maybe that's just my way of thinking about that..

regards,
  Torsten

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