Content Switch

Arsalan Rafiq, Talha Pervez, Salman Jan
supervised by Professor Muhammad Jaseemuddin

The objective of this project is to design a software based content switch. In the old days performance issues were solved by increasing bandwidth. However, as more information is flowing at faster speeds, servers are swamped with data and are not able to respond in an efficient way. The content switch task ranges from differentiating between "Spam" and valuable content, critical applications and noncritical, faster and slower servers, and local or remote sites. Content switch streamlines requests and processes how to efficiently handle the request between the servers. [1]To achieve this, the switch needs to inspect the packet in real time and determine what is being requested. In our project the main task of the content switch would be of load balancing. The load balancer mechanism identifies the best server among the available servers and then forwards the request to the best server. The content switch is also responsible for diverting the flow of traffic between client and server and maintaining record of all active sessions. The content switch also constantly monitors the server's health so that the traffic from client is not diverted to a dead host. The content switch also ensures it is not overloaded with lot of processing by blocking incoming session request if it exceeds certain limit of sessions. Overloaded processing in content switch would affect all the active sessions in the content switch. A content switch also ensures the server is not abused by a client. A content switch is responsible for recording and blocking any connection request from a client which tries to overload the servers by flooding the system with SYN requests. The content switch allows administrator to control the network traffic and be able to analyze system performance. Below given is a list of features a content switch provides: The administrator can have control of blocking/unblocking any particular client, Bring down server temporarily for maintenance, Obtain data to analyze packet processing rate, Acquire health of any server, Add or remove servers to system easily, Keep track of clients requesting service, Ensure a dead server is automatically removed from system to avoid packet getting dropped.

Project targeted applications: In a Data centre content switches are used to increase the number of http connections the content site can handle. A content switch receives all http requests and forwards them to the best server of the server farm that has enough residual capacity of handling new http requests. It thus performs load balancing across the servers, improves http requests throughput and improves the content download latency.