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Open Source Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo, Pat Romanski

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OmniTI Helps Oregon Health & Science University Increase Web Site Performance with Apache Traffic Server

OmniTI a provider of web infrastructures and applications for companies that require scalable, high-performance, mission critical solutions, today announced it provided strategic consulting services and developed an Apache Traffic Server plugin for Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

As part of the project OHSU contributed the Apache plugin back to the Open Source Community so that other companies can now benefit from the functionality it provides. The plugin accommodates for “stale-while-revalidate” and “stale-if-error” cache control extensions, reducing latency and improving content serving consistency.

OHSU is a leading health and research university that strives for excellence in patient care, education and research, and community service. It cares for more than 235,000 patients each year from around the region and takes a leadership role in contributing to solutions involving the health of the state and the nation, such as health care access and transparency, ethics and workforce shortages.

OHSU made a strategic decision to proactively enhance the site’s performance in preparation for traffic bursts that would drive traffic to the site at higher than normal levels. The OHSU site gets about 500,000 page views per week, and as the leading provider of complex medical care in Oregon, they could see similar numbers in a single day if the city or region experienced an unscheduled emergency. OHSU’s Web Strategies team decided that a web accelerator solution would best meet its needs, and after much research and competitive performance analysis decided upon Apache Traffic Server.

Originally developed by Inktomi, and later acquired and open sourced by Yahoo!, Apache Traffic Server (ATS) is one of the leading open source caching proxy servers available today. The web strategies team then turned to OmniTI, known in the industry for its ATS expertise, for guidance on how to implement ATS and to develop a customized plugin for “stale-while-revalidate” and “stale-if-error” scenarios.

“The plugin that OmniTI built has filled a hole in Apache Traffic Server’s functionality,” said Brendan Webb, a web engineer at OHSU. “OmniTI’s experience with reverse proxies, and specifically ATS, helped us better understand exactly what steps were required and what pitfalls to avoid during both our initial implementation and when it came time to develop the plugin.”

ATS and the plugin have now been implemented on OHSU’s entire intranet and on sections of the public site. The OHSU intranet serves more than 13,000 employees, and the plugin has added a layer of redundancy in case there are errors on the site. Now the web staff can see where the errors are and fix them, while end users don't experience any disruption in content or performance.

“OHSU is an innovative institution that is being proactive by improving web services performance with ATS,” said Leon Fayer, vice president of business development, OmniTI. “We are happy to have joined forces with them to deliver a high performance solution that meets their needs for today and the future.”

About OHSU

Oregon Health & Science University is the state’s only academic health and research university. As Portland's largest employer with nearly 14,000 employees, OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. OHSU serves patients from every corner of Oregon, and is a conduit for learning for more than 4,300 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state.

About OmniTi

Founded in 1997, OmniTI designs, builds and operates web infrastructures and applications for companies that require scalable, high-performance, mission critical solutions. Targeted to B2C organizations, the company’s expert engineers specialize in providing complex, high-transaction and large-volume data applications. Unlike competitors that offer limited web design, development or database services, OmniTI offers end-to-end, purpose built technology solutions that include strategic consulting, web design and development, database services, Internet architecture support and managed services. OmniTI is committed to continuous innovation that enables businesses on the web to move at customer speed.

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