Recently Apache Software Foundation, the birthplace of Apache Web Server and other over 350 open-source projects announced that they’re retiring the ASF mirror system in favor of a Content Delivery Network (CDN). They expressed their gratitude and thanks to all individuals and organizations who helped ASF software to reach out to the hands of millions of users.
ASF mirror system and its function
Mirror system was first developed to meet the demand that grew exponentially as the Apache Software became more popular and mainstream. As the demand increased, the distribution of Apache software became something that a single website could no longer handle. Seeking a solution, ASF came with a Mirror system to address the issue.
Instead of putting all the load that emerged from people trying to download Apache software into a single website, the Mirror system creates copies of artifacts and distributes them to mirrored websites, sharing the load by syncing up with the main site and serving only a portion of the clients per website.
Mirror websites became available in April 1995. One of the first-ever mirror websites to become online was SunSite. SunSite is a hub of internet services that provides software, archives of information, and other services that are available to the public.
A mirror in 2002 would need to be able to allocate at least 10GB of space in order to be able to handle all the artifacts that are available for download.
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Future of the ASF software distribution
As the ASF and use of Apache software increased in the passing years, at least 10GB need of space that was required in 2002 is now around 180GB in order for a mirror to be able to handle all the ASF software and distribute them. Not only the required data grow in the passing years though. The technology and the internet itself are evolved as well. As more people start investing in internet resources and as the competition between companies grows, the bandwidth costs have dropped as well.
The ASF’s infrastructure team, after deliberation and discussions, has decided to retire the ASF mirror system and move its download system to CDN. CDN’s professional support and service level vas evaluated and decided it was appropriate to the foundation’s status in the technology world.
The new CDN system, as they claim, is faster, reliable, and much more fit for the job of delivering apache software around the world. With the new system, the Apache team states that users of ASF won’t be facing any lags that were present in the mirror system due to desynchronization with the main server. Also, with the CDN system, ASF users could expect faster and reliable downloads around the world.