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F5 LTM or Oracle Webcache

Hi,

I'm trying to set up a new infrastructure where we are using Oracle's WebTier which consists of OHS (a custom version of Apache Web Server) + Oracle's Webcache.

If I'm using an F5 LTM, do I need Oracle's Webcache? Can the F5 do the caching anyway? Or do you need both??

i.e

FW -> F5 -> Webcache -> OHS -> Application Server.

or

FW -> F5 -> OHS -> Application Server.

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USER ACCEPTED ANSWER & F5 ACCEPTED ANSWER

Hi Allistar. Unfortunately, the answer is "it depends". If you are looking to "offload" the HTTP caching workload to the LTM, this can easily be done - but usually for static content only, by using the RAM cache feature of the HTTP profile ( prior to version 11.3 ). In version 11.3, this was been changed to the "web acceleration profile", you will find more information about what this is and how it works on the 11.3 support docs for HTTP traffic:

http://support.f5.com/kb/en-us/products/big-ip_ltm/manuals/product/ltm-concepts-11-3-0/ltm_http_profiles.html?sr=29889005#1229867

You can certainly run both, perhaps have the LTM cache static content, like images and highly used text/html content; and let WebCache handle application specific content caching. You could create 2 HTTP profiles, one with RAM cache enabled, one without, and test the difference by changing which profile is active on your virtual server. That would give you a sense for what value RAM cache is providing.  Using a browser plug-in HTTP analysis tool like HTTPwatch will show you what is going on with great detail.

If this is a public facing website, F5 has a new tool that will run a series of tests, and give you a report with an estimate of what the Web Acceleration features would do for you. You can check it out here, it's called FAST - F5 Application Speed Tester:

http://www.f5.com/featured/performance-tools/f5-application-speed-tester/

Good luck, and let us know what you fiind out and what you decide.

-Chris.
P.S. It's also important to note that F5 can also provide HTTP Compression, in addition to Caching, to really improve the delivery of HTTP content. But that's another thread...


 

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USER ACCEPTED ANSWER & F5 ACCEPTED ANSWER

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your good reply. I think your right and we'll try and combination of both F5 and Oracle WebCache.

Oracle WebCache can also compress and do static and dynamic content caching. 

Can an F5 do dynamic content caching? For example , Java Server Pages (JSP), Active Server Pages (ASP), PL/SQL Server Pages (PSP), Java Servlets, and Common Gateway Interface (CGI).

Regards,

Alistair.

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USER ACCEPTED ANSWER & F5 ACCEPTED ANSWER
Hi Alistair, Yes it can, but you have to be careful about dynamic content being shared between users/requests. So you would definitely want to test and validate it first.

-Chris.
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