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Sun White Paper on WebNFS

From: Robert S. Thau <rst@ai.mit.edu>
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 1996 19:53:44 -0400
Message-Id: <199606112353.TAA20881@volterra.ai.mit.edu>
To: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
X-Mailing-List: <http-wg@cuckoo.hpl.hp.com> archive/latest/898
Hi --- I'm just posting a pointer to a document which many people in
the WG might want to review.  It's Sun's White Paper on WebNFS, which
they are now proposing as an alternative to HTTP for some applications.
This document is at


Unfortunately, the white paper does not really cover the relationships
to many of HTTP's widely used features very well --- the section on
caching is a particular disappointment, and I could find no mention
of session state.  

Still, they do make a reasonably interesting case that performance of
an NFS-based protocol in retrieving simple files directly from an
origin server would exceed that of status-quo HTTP in the same
application (including HTTP/1.1).  How it would compare to, say,
HTTP run over the MUX session-layer proposed on the W3C's HTTP-NG
issues page is a more open question --- it may well be that use of
MUX allows users to gain the performance benefits of the NFS-based
approach while preserving the other advantages of status-quo HTTP.
However, both protocols appear to be in an early enough stage of
development that it may be a bit soon for bake-offs.

(In any case, public acceptance determines the evolution of standards
at least as much as any individual's notion of what consitutes technical
merit, and there seems to be an awful lot of buzz around WebNFS right
now.  That may, in the long run, be determinative, particularly in the
absence of buzz about alternatives, and WebNFS may merit careful study
now for that reason alone).

My apologies if this is a bit off-topic for the list, but it has been
quiet since draft-05 went out, and I thought many readers of http-wg
would have an interest.

Received on Tuesday, 11 June 1996 16:58:52 UTC

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