IDG’s Network World Alert: Starr Report Promises To Stress-Maybe Crash – Network Server

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., — September 10, 1998 – If the House of Representatives Rules Committee votes to publish on the Web 445 pages of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation on President Clinton, the technological challenges will be great.

"This could be the defining moment for determining how many hits a single site can take for a single document," said Sandra Gittlen, a reporter at Network World Fusion, the official Web site for Network World. Gittlen interviewed Sharon Hammersla, a Congressional systems administrator prepping the document for the Web.

Gittlen's full article with Hammersla can be found at

Hammersla told Network World Fusion that she has to figure out how to serve up millions of copies of Kenneth Starr's report over the Web – and fast. She hopes to set up a series of mirror sites to handle the anticipated demand. Her list currently includes Web servers run by the House, the House Judiciary Committee and the Library of Congress. She hopes to have two more sites on board by tomorrow's House Rules Committee vote on whether to make the document public.

"An example of what could happen occurred earlier this year when a Massachusetts judge announced plans to release his verdict in the British au pair case on the Web," said Gittlen. "The mere announcement was enough to crash his designated server — people began hitting the site days before he actually released his decision."

Hammersla told Network World Fusion that the House site is served by a single Unix box running Netscape's Web server. She said the House Judiciary Committee has the same configuration.

The first challenge for Hammersla is to figure out how to make the report ready for the Web. Right now it's still under lock and key by the House Sergeant at Arms. It is not known whether the report is in electronic form or on paper. If it's in electronic form, Hammersla told Network World Fusion, it can just put it into HTML format and put on the Web. If not, however, the report will have to be scanned and put into Portable Document Format (PDF).

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