P2P Networks

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I checked out Circle as well as Chord as P2P networks. These are excellent efforts and should be note to anyone who is interested in P2P systems. As with KaZaA, much of the P2P cloud is transient and located on the peers themselves. The folks at Userland should look at how this can be done with Radio 8.0 if they want a true, distributed backend to the product.

I have a feeling the cloud part isn’t the issue — it will be the Radio backend and this assumption of one controlling application per weblog. At least, that’s what I found when I started peeking around a bit. Perhaps folks more knowledgeable about Radio will have a better idea.

Back to the P2P systems: aside from a key entry point (and all of these systems need this and there’s a reason why) the P2P clouds are without iron. Aside from the key entry point.

Why is the entry point needed? Because each P2P circle is too small (yes it is) to make it efficient to send a bot out into the open Internet, knocking at IPs looking for a specific node of any one of these systems. All P2P systems are too small for this to be effective, Napster, Gnutella, and so on. Think about it — how many nodes are online now in the Internet? I wouldn’t even try and guess the number but I imagine millions and millions. Now you have a P2P network with about 200,000 nodes. Needle in haystack. Right?

Well, not necessarily. Depending upon the dispersion level of the nodes of the P2P network, it might not be that difficult to find an entry node into the network. So with a bot and a handshake protocol implemented at each node you could have a golden gateway — an entry point totally without iron.

However, the problem with this approach is you then have to have a bot for every system you want to join: Groove, Gnutella, Circle, and so on. What a pain.

Wouldn’t it be better to have all these systems provide a common form of identification as well as a common handshake and direction protocol and then have one type of bot that’s smart enough to tap on the door of the nearest P2P system and say “I’m looking for so and so”? And wouldn’t it be better to have each system learn about the others when contacted, such as when a bot returns to a node with a connection into Circle, it also happens to have information about the nearest golden gateway node to Gnutella?   And would it be such a resource burden to have the node check every once in a while to make sure it’s neighboring nodes are still online? So that when our bot of discovery comes calling, it’s given up to date information?

What’s the cost of a ping?

You know, I have so many bots crawling my servers that I’m amazed it’s still standing at times. But none of them work together. If they did, and if they were smarter, and if our sites had something a bit smarter than just open ports, firewalls, or web servers — then maybe we could do without DNS and centralized repositories of information such as UDDI.

Just some more grand ideas to throw out and see if people think I’m full of little green beans again.

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