If your website gets massive traffic, or you are building a new website and can't sleep at night because you're worried that you will, Yahoo wants to help. And it doesn't want anything in return, except maybe your love.

On Tuesday, Yahoo will announce that it has open sourced Traffic Server, the HTTP web proxy cache it uses internally to serve up millions upon millions of requests to its users on a daily basis in an efficient manner.

Traffic Server, which will be an Incubator Project of the Apache Software foundation and which is already available for download, was originally acquired by Yahoo when it purchased Inktomi. It works by "caching frequently-accessed information at the edge of the network", in turn bringing content "physically closer to end users, while enabling faster delivery and reduced bandwidth use". In one Yahoo test, a single server handled up to 35,000 requests per second.

In an interview with News.com, Shelton Shugar, Yahoo's SVP of Clouding Computing, stated that Yahoo is open sourcing Traffic Server because it thinks it can build a community around it:

We've donated Traffic Server to Apache because we think it's a great piece of code, and we want to build a community around that in the same manner we built a community out of Hadoop.

Hadoop is an open source Java software framework that Yahoo has contributed significantly to.

What about competitors? "We suspect our larger competitors already have some solution they're happy with," Shugar says.

It's an interesting move. When it comes to Yahoo's consumer facing products, not much appears to be changing. But behind the scenes, Yahoo has made significant investments in reaching out to developers. This is just the latest example. The question is whether a good rapport with the developer community is really what Yahoo needs right now.

Time will tell. In the meantime, if you have a significant amount of traffic and a web proxy cache fits into your plans, Yahoo hopes you'll take a look at Traffic Server. After all, it's all about 'Y!ou'.

Photo credit: Yodel Anecdotal via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 3 November, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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