Web servers span a range as wide as UNIX itself. Slick
bundles of hardware and software reside at one end of
anxiously waiting to plug you and your organization
into the joys of the
electronic global village - for a price, of course.
Huddled at the
opposite end of the spectrum are the freeware alternatives
that for the most part cost only time, patience and
a few extra grey
hairs. Which end of the spectrum seems most attractive
to you will
largely depend on the nature of your requirements and
the size of your
budget. Our October theme articles examine some of the
to building Web servers in what might be called the
along with a variety of related concerns. You will also
discussions of Web-related topics in the upcoming months.
technologies are moving too rapidly to restrict our
coverage of the
topic to one or two issues per year.
If you have not already implemented a Web server for
you probably will in the near future. The Web is a technology
caught the imaginations of individuals and businesses
alike with an
almost unparalleled force. The Web is here to stay.
Similar to a strange
substance growing in a petri dish, however, its shape
and color are
likely to change. It is this evolution of the Web that
generate the greatest challenges for you.
As system administrators, your task in the coming months
will be not only to implement rapidly evolving technologies
breakneck pace, but also to put those technologies into
some form of
long-range system architecture that makes sense administratively.
road ahead certainly has its share of potholes. Your
assume that you will fill the potholes along the way,
making for a
smooth organizational ride. Interestingly, however,
much of the stuff
needed to fill the potholes, such as robust security
solutions and a
rational national encryption policy, is yet to be invented.
meantime, you will need to find some virtual pothole
filler to keep your
systems (and your organization) from breaking a figurative
One of the challenges facing system administrators along
this road will
be to maintain a sense of perspective while being prodded
project schedules. In some respects, the Web can be
likened to a pop
singer - an instant success after only thirty years
in the business.
Another view might be that the Web is the Internet after
a makeover. A
new hair style and professionally applied makeup, but
wrinkles underneath than we might want to admit. Those
constitute the underlying culture of the Internet, a
culture that is not
wholly consistent with the current business-centered
Web glitz. How
these forces will resolve themselves over the next several
unclear. What is not unclear, however, is that your
task will be to keep
the systems running, performing core operational tasks
of the outcome of the culture clash.