As someone looking to design or purchase a caching system for your organization, you have many options and many decisions to make. Numerous companies now offer caching products, and all of them would love to sell you theirs. The purpose of this chapter is to help you pick a product that meets your needs. We’ll focus on hardware configurations and product features rather than specific products and vendors.
For the most part, caching products can be classified into appliances and software solutions. Choosing an appliance means that the hardware and software come bundled together as a single product. With a software solution, on the other hand, you buy the hardware from a different company or perhaps use some equipment you already have. Appliances are usually designed to run just one application—the web cache. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages.
Many people are attracted to appliances because they tend to be easier to install and maintain. The software comes preloaded on the hardware. You don’t have to think about disk space, file permissions, startup scripts, etc. Often, the product is up and running after you provide a few basic configuration details, such as the box’s IP address, hostname, default route, and DNS server.
Appliances usually have a nice graphical interface for administration. That is, you simply use your web browser to configure and administer the cache. ...