Thursday, April 3, 2008

CND & P2P - Can't we all just get along?

The worlds of content delivery networks (CDN) and peer 2 peer (P2P) seems to be at odds. At first glance they serve different markets. CDNs are essentially to deliver a webcast to a large number of simultaneous users, e.g. Oprah's weekly sessions attract 1M homes. P2P originated with music sharing site Napster. At that time it was about access to a large library of music, not bandwidth. But in today's video laden world, bandwidth is the key issue. Video-on-demand services like BitTorrent (founded by the inventor of P2P for video) relies on public P2P to accelerate movie downloads. Private box video on demand provider Vudu relies on their installed base of boxes to accelerate movie downloads - the more users they have the better the average user experience.
All P2P providers appear to gain from no having to make CDN payments. But that gain ignores the cost of the "pipes" they are using. As long as the "pipes" are free and their users are freely offering their upload bandwidth this works. But is it the optimum arrangement for the web? A good technical reference is A Practical Guide to Content Delivery Networks. I'm reading some technical articles on hybrid architecture proposals.

Bit Torrent

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