While police fear attacks on football fans during this month's European football championships, the operators of the official Euro 2000 website are confident of preventing attacks of a cyber nature.
The UEFA funded site, www.euro2000.org, has been designed to receive over 150 million hits per day during the competition, which runs from Saturday until 2 July. At peak times, the site will be capable of serving 10,000 connections per second.
But football isn't everyone's cup of tea and the operators of the site, which include PSINet, content provider Sportal, caching software vendor CacheFlow and switch vendor ArrowPoint, are aware that it is a prime target for sabotage. In a bid to foil attackers, the site will be dispersed across a series of caching servers in Europe and the US.
According to Mike Holden, project manager for ArrowPoint, the fact that the site has multiple locations will ensure it will withstand any denial of service attack. "At an event like this, people will inevitably try and do something to the site. With a global load sharing, attackers will find it hard to disrupt," he said.
Content for the site will be hosted at two main data centres in Holland and Los Angeles. This content is replicated to 28 caching servers located in nine cities across Europe and the US, including London.
If the server closest to a user is busy or congested, the ArrowPoint switches will re-route the request over PSINet's network to another server that has quicker response times. If one of the websites goes down, the switches will also automatically route users to an alternative server where the content is held.
Vicky Reeves, implementation manager for PSINet, said the companies are confident that euro2000.org will prove to become the world's most popular website. "The Euro 2000 website is going to have to deal with the highest number of hits that any one website will have ever received on a daily basis. It really is the next level of websites," she said.
Available in French, German and English, the site will include live commentaries of the matches, video clips, official reports and event guides for the host cities, and online competitions and games.
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