Glossary of Performance Related Terms

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Bandwidth

In computer networking and computer science, bandwidth, digital bandwidth, or network bandwidth is a measure of available or consumed data communication resources expressed in bit/s or multiples of it (kbit/s, Mbit/s etc). Bandwidth may refer to bandwidth capacity or available bandwidth in bit/s, which typically means the net bit rate, channel capacity or the maximum throughput of a logical or physical communication path in a digital communication system.

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Cache

In computer science, a cache is a component that improves performance by transparently storing data such that future requests for that data can be served faster. The data that is stored within a cache might be values that have been computed earlier or duplicates of original values that are stored elsewhere. If requested data is contained in the cache (cache hit), this request can be served by simply reading the cache, which is comparably faster. Otherwise (cache miss), the data has to be recomputed or fetched from its original storage location, which is comparably slower. Hence, the more requests that can be served from the cache the better the overall system performance is.

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Content Delivery Network

A content delivery network or content distribution network (CDN) is a system of computers containing copies of data, placed at various points in a network so as to maximize bandwidth for access to the data from clients throughout the network. A client accesses a copy of the data near to the client, as opposed to all clients accessing the same central server, so as to avoid bottleneck near that server.

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Deflate

Deflate is a lossless data compression algorithm that uses a combination of the LZ77 algorithm and Huffman coding. It was originally defined by Phil Katz for version 2 of his PKZIP archiving tool, and was later specified in RFC 1951. Deflate is widely thought to be free of any subsisting patents, and at a time before the patent on LZW (which is used in the GIF file format) expired, this has led to its use in gzip compressed files and PNG image files, in addition to the ZIP file format for which Katz originally designed it.

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Gzip

Gzip is a software application used for file compression, it usually means the GNU Project's implementation of compression/decompression tool using Lempel-Ziv coding (LZ77), where gzip is short for GNU zip; as the program was created a free software replacement for the compress program used in early Unix systems, intended for use by the GNU Project.

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HTTP Compression

HTTP compression is a capability that can be built into web servers and web browsers to make better use of available bandwidth, and provide faster transmission speeds between both. HTTP data is compressed before it is sent from the server: compliant browsers will announce what methods are supported to the server before downloading the correct format; unsupported browsers will download uncompressed data. Data can be compressed with either deflate or gzip modules depending on the server software.

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