Web platform now multi-tiered

Jul 22, 2007

By John Weible

Today we changed our web servers to insert the new web server layer we announced previously.  From now on, all web requests for www.library.uiuc.edu go through our new system.

How it works

Another server change and project related to all of the above is the implementation of a "reverse proxy web server" that will operate in front of the other web and CMS servers.  It will have no content of its own, but silently intercepts and processes all web requests coming to our sites.  It essentially operates like this:

Simplified diagram illustrating our web tiers

Why we did this

User-side Integration of Content and Services

In our case, the insertion of this additional layer also can help reduce the impact of change on users while our content transitions to a CMS environment.  It will also allow us to bring some loose ends under the www.library.uiuc.edu namespace. 

Examples of this name space improvement:

Server Flexibility

The complexity of the Library's web sites (both technically and organizationally) has brought us to the point where a multi-tier architecture now makes sense.  Most very large web sites operate this way, since it allows a great deal of flexibility regarding the distribution of content and processing power on the back end servers.

Server Security

With this new arrangement, we have some additional ways we can secure our real content and application web servers.