The Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) has released a new benchmark to test Web server performance. This new benchmark, SPECweb99, is a suite of tests that measure the number of simultaneous connections a Web server can support against a predefined server load. The benchmark transfers files ranging in size from 1KB to 1MB using HTTP 1.0 and HTTP 1.1 in a pattern that simulates a typical Web server’s workload. The benchmark measures the transfer of static Web pages as well as dynamic pages. Many prominent Internet players contributed to the SPECweb99 benchmark, including Cisco Systems, Compaq, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mindcraft, Netscape, SGI, Siemens, Sun Microsystems, and Unisys. All these companies, with the exception of Cisco, are SPEC members. SPECweb99 replaces the SPECweb96 benchmark from 1996. Because the two benchmarks are significantly different in approach, users won't be able to easily compare results based on SPECweb99 to the previous benchmark. SPEC will continue to support and publish SPECweb96 results for 6 months during a transition period. SPEC expects the SPECweb99 benchmark will quickly become an industry standard for Web server performance. Hot on the heels of SPEC's announcement, Compaq announced that an AlphaServer DS10 running the Zeus 3.1.9 Web server software had a score of 484 using the new benchmark. Given how fast developers are writing and deploying Internet protocols, it’s anyone’s guess as to how long SPECweb99 will remain relevant. Interested parties can purchase the new benchmark specification from SPEC for $800, and SPEC is offering the benchmark at a discount to universities and nonprofit agencies. For information about this benchmark, go to SPEC’s Web site at You can find a synopsis of the benchmark at