Tuesday, 7 February 2006

The power of PAC man

Just a quick note really. I have finally got round to starting off my Wiki page on the use of automatic proxy configuration files. I decided to write this mostly so I wouldn't forget in future but also as I found .pac files to be really useful and thought others might want somewhere to start when first implementing them.

The gist of the wiki is that with a .pac file you can implement resiliency, load balancing and complex request routing for next to no money. All you need is more than 1 proxy server (for resilience and load balancing if that's what you're after), somewhere to store the .pac file (either a web server or just a network share) and some basic understanding of JavaScript. Though understanding JavaScript isn't that important as there are plenty of examples out there and doing the basics is really simple from a JavaScript perspective.

So, if you want to make your proxy infrastructure more resilient, or just move those annoying proxy exceptions somewhere other than people's NT profiles, then give a proxy auto configuration script a go. That way if you have to change the exceptions list, all your users have to do is restart their browser to pickup the new settings rather than logout and in again.

If you are feeling really adventurous you can even do things like send users on different network to different proxies, send users to different proxies at different times or route through different proxies based on the protocol of a request. The possibilities are endless.

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