X-Switch: An Efficient , Multi-User, Multi-Language Web Application Server

Mayumbo Nyirenda, Hussein Suleman, Andrew Maunder, Reinhardt van Rooyen


Web applications are usually installed on and accessed through a Web server. For security reasons, these Web servers
generally provide very few privileges to Web applications, defaulting to executing them in the realm of a guest ac-
count. In addition, performance often is a problem as Web applications may need to be reinitialised with each
access. Various solutions have been designed to address these security and performance issues, mostly independently
of one another, but most have been language or system-specic. The X-Switch system is proposed as an alternative
Web application execution environment, with more secure user-based resource management, persistent application
interpreters and support for arbitrary languages/interpreters. Thus it provides a general-purpose environment for
developing and deploying Web applications.
The X-Switch system's experimental results demonstrated that it can achieve a high level of performance. Further-
more it was shown that X-Switch can provide functionality matching that of existing Web application servers but
with the added benet of multi-user support. Finally the X-Switch system showed that it is feasible to completely
separate the deployment platform from the application code, thus ensuring that the developer does not need to
modify his/her code to make it compatible with the deployment platform.


Web application servers, scalability, context switching, process persistence, modularity

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18489/sacj.v44i0.23

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