Web switch

Web switch

A network device that routes traffic to the appropriate Web server based on the content of the packet. Also known as a "URL switch," "Web content switch," "content switch," "layer 7 switch" and "layer 4-7 switch," the Web switch is designed to provide improved load balancing for a website, because different requests can be routed to the servers configured to handle them.

For example, streaming audio and video have long-lived "sticky" connections and may be better served from a dedicated server or one that is closer to the user. Requests for static data can be directed to cache servers, while dynamic requests bypass the cache server.

Layer 7 Digs Deeper
The Web switch examines layer 4 and layer 7 in the network packet. Although any layer 4 switch can examine the TCP/IP port number and differentiate HTTP traffic (Web traffic) from the rest, the Web switch also inspects layer 7, which contains the details of the HTTP request. For example, an HTTP request for a static image would be directed to a cache server, while an HTTP request for a search would go to the Web server handling ad hoc queries. See well-known port, Content Smart Web Switch and TCP splicing.

TCP/IP SWITCHING/ROUTING DECISIONSLayer and      ForwardingProtocol       DecisionInspected      Based on

  2 - Ethernet   MAC address

  3 - IP         Network address
  3 - IP         Service quality

  4 - TCP/UDP    Traffic type
      socket     (HTTP, FTP, etc.)

  7 - HTTP       HTTP request type

The First Web Switches
ArrowPoint Communications pioneered Web switching in 1998 with its Content Smart switch. The CS-100 (left) supported 16 Fast Ethernet ports, while the CS-800 (right) supported 32 Gigabit Ethernet ports. (Image courtesy of Cisco Systems, Inc.)
References in periodicals archive ?
At the same time Nortel Networks has also announced the Alteon Central Management System (CMS) for configuration, management and content-intelligent web service provisioning across multiple web switches, and Alteon Element Management System (EMS), a standalone Java application that provides a graphical user interface for web switch configuration and management.
Nasdaq:FDRY), Atlanta, a leader in high-performance, end-to-end switching and routing solutions, has introduced a new stackable Web switch, the ServerIron 4802, based on a new purpose-built Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) technology that provides integrated Layer 2 through Layer 7 Internet traffic and content management switching.
With integrated server load balancing, URL and cookie switching, global server load balancing, firewall load balancing, and content aware cache switching, ServerIron 4802 is the fastest and the smartest Web switch available in its class.
Riverstone Networks, a provider of metropolitan area network infrastructure, has introduced the IA 1100 and IA 1200 Web switch.
It is the only Web switch that allows shopping cart transactions to be completed correctly with no performance degradation--regardless of browser configuration.
Road Runner needed a next-generation Web switch that would direct Web traffic based on identifying individual users and routing it to the best server available for the specific content requested.
Another benefit is that operational costs of the Web switch are very low.
It consists of Alteon Web Switch, Alteon Security Appliances, and purpose-built software that accelerates a variety of security applications.
ArrowPoint Communications (NASDAQ:ARPT) has extended its Content Smart Web switching family with two new Web switch platforms designed to provide small-to-medium Web sites and service provider points of presence (POPs) with customer-focused Web network services at new levels of price/performance.
ArrowPoint's new Content Smart Web Switch products, the CS-50 and CS-150, target Web businesses building highly scaleable networks over the Internet that are optimized for electronic commerce and content delivery.
The BIG-IP 2400 tested well over 200% faster than its nearest competitor, the Alteon Web Switch 184 (Nortel), which performed at 41,023 sessions/second.
The Alteon Web Switch 184, Radware WSD and Foundry ServerIron XL tested at 17,397 sessions/second, 10,106 sessions/second, and 4,191 sessions/second, respectively.