Scalable Internet auctions
Current Internet based auction services rely, in general, on a centralised auction server; applications with large and geographically dispersed bidder client bases are thus supported in a centralised manner. Such an approach is fundamentally restrictive as too many users can overload the server, making the whole auction process unresponsive. Further, such an architecture can be vulnerable to server's failures, if not equipped with sufficient redundancy. In addition, bidders who are closer to the server are likely to have relatively faster access to the server than remote bidders, thereby gaining an unfair advantage. To overcome these shortcomings, this thesis investigates ways of enabling widely distributed, arbitrarily large number of auction servers to cooperate in conducting an auction. Allowing a bidder to register with anyone of the auction servers and place bids there, coupled with periodic exchange of auction information between servers forms the basis of the solution investigated to achieve scalability, responsiveness and fairness. Scalability and responsiveness are achieved since the total load is shared amongst many bidder servers; fairness is achieved since bidders are able to register with their local servers. The thesis presents the design and implementation of an hierarchically structured distributed Internet auction system. Protocols for inter-server cooperation are presented. Each server may be replicated locally to mask node failures. Performance evaluations of centralised and distributed configurations are performed to show the advantages of the distributed configuration over the centralised one.