Browse Prior Art Database

Fast Hostname Lookup While Monitoring Network Submissions

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000016209D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Sep-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
Document File: 2 page(s) / 41K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Web analytics tools have become a critical part of managing e-business web sites, providing valuable information which can affect real business decisions. These tools can get their input from various sources, but most will use the web server log as their primary source of data when analyzing web site activity. As web clients issue requests for your web servers resources, HTTP requests containing time stamp, client IP address, URL, etc. are written to your web server log. Each record written to your web server log can then be analyzed by a web analytics tool to determine visitor information about your site. For instance, analyzing the client IP address can yield metrics about your sites visitor demographics. Reverse hostname look-up is a feature in most web servers that converts client IP addresses, in raw dot address notation, to hostname strings that allow a more user friendly analysis of questions like: 1) What country represents the majority of the visitors to my site? 2) What domain or subdomain are represented by visitors to my site?

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Fast Hostname Lookup While Monitoring Network Submissions

  Web analytics tools have become a critical part of managing e-business web sites, providing valuable information which can affect real business decisions. These tools can get their input from various sources, but most will use the web server log as their primary source of data when analyzing web site activity. As web clients issue requests for your web servers resources, HTTP requests containing time stamp, client IP address, URL, etc. are written to your web server log.

Each record written to your web server log can then be analyzed by a web analytics tool to determine visitor information about your site. For instance, analyzing the client IP address can yield metrics about your sites visitor demographics. Reverse hostname look-up is a feature in most web servers that converts client IP addresses, in raw dot address notation, to hostname strings that allow a more user friendly analysis of questions like:

1) What country represents the majority of the visitors to my site?
2) What domain or subdomain are represented by visitors to my site?

Unfortunately, the process of hostname look-up can be very time costly for a web server. The performance of completing each look-up is directly dependent upon network performance. Thus, most web servers disable their hostname look-up feature by default in exchange for providing an uncompromised client user experience. With the web servers hostname look-up feature disabled, raw client IP addresses remain written to web server log files. Reporting of visitor metrics based solely upon raw IP addresses is generally unaccepted. Web analytics tools have consequently assumed the task of making visitor metrics readable by providing the additional network processing required to look-up raw client IP addresses found in the web server log. Now, the question becomes: How can web analytics tools quickly discover large numbers of hostnames while at the same time avoid having a negative impact on domain name servers and the network?

The answer is to use the UDP network protocol to preform that actual look-up and then monitor the load of your domain name servers and network. The Java Runtime provides a package, java.net.InetAddress, which contains the method, getHostName(), which preforms reverse hostname look-up given a raw IP address. It would be reasonable to discover large numbers o...