Peer-to-peer

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A peer-to-peer (P2P) network in which interconnected nodes ("peers") share resources amongst each other without the use of a centralized administrative system P2P-network.svg
A peer-to-peer (P2P) network in which interconnected nodes ("peers") share resources amongst each other without the use of a centralized administrative system
A network based on the client-server model, where individual clients request services and resources from centralized servers Server-based-network.svg
A network based on the client-server model , where individual clients request services and resources from centralized servers

Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing or networking is a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or workloads between peers. Peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in the application. They are said to form a peer-to-peer network of nodes.

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Peers make a portion of their resources, such as processing power, disk storage or network bandwidth, directly available to other network participants, without the need for central coordination by servers or stable hosts. [1] Peers are both suppliers and consumers of resources, in contrast to the traditional client-server model in which the consumption and supply of resources is divided. Emerging collaborative P2P systems are going beyond the era of peers doing similar things while sharing resources, and are looking for diverse peers that can bring in unique resources and capabilities to a virtual community thereby empowering it to engage in greater tasks beyond those that can be accomplished by individual peers, yet that are beneficial to all the peers. [2]

A virtual community is a social network of individuals who interact through specific social media, potentially crossing geographical and political boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals. Some of the most pervasive virtual communities are online communities operating under social networking services.

While P2P systems had previously been used in many application domains, [3] the architecture was popularized by the file sharing system Napster, originally released in 1999. The concept has inspired new structures and philosophies in many areas of human interaction. In such social contexts, peer-to-peer as a meme refers to the egalitarian social networking that has emerged throughout society, enabled by Internet technologies in general.

Napster is a set of three music-focused online services. It was founded as a pioneering peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing Internet software that emphasized sharing digital audio files, typically audio songs, encoded in MP3 format. As the software became popular, the company ran into legal difficulties over copyright infringement. It ceased operations and was eventually acquired by Roxio. In its second incarnation, Napster became an online music store until it was acquired by Rhapsody from Best Buy on December 1, 2011.

Egalitarianism, or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that prioritizes equality for all people. Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all human persons are equal in fundamental worth or moral status. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term has two distinct definitions in modern English, namely either as a political doctrine that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social and civil rights, or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people, economic egalitarianism, or the decentralization of power. Some sources define egalitarianism as the point of view that equality reflects the natural state of humanity.

Social network Theoretical concept in sociology

A social network is a social structure made up of a set of social actors, sets of dyadic ties, and other social interactions between actors. The social network perspective provides a set of methods for analyzing the structure of whole social entities as well as a variety of theories explaining the patterns observed in these structures. The study of these structures uses social network analysis to identify local and global patterns, locate influential entities, and examine network dynamics.

Historical development

SETI@home was established in 1999 SETI@home Multi-Beam screensaver.png
SETI@home was established in 1999

While P2P systems had previously been used in many application domains, [3] the concept was popularized by file sharing systems such as the music-sharing application Napster (originally released in 1999). The peer-to-peer movement allowed millions of Internet users to connect "directly, forming groups and collaborating to become user-created search engines, virtual supercomputers, and filesystems." [4] The basic concept of peer-to-peer computing was envisioned in earlier software systems and networking discussions, reaching back to principles stated in the first Request for Comments, RFC 1. [5]

File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digital media, such as computer programs, multimedia, documents or electronic books. File sharing may be achieved in a number of ways. Common methods of storage, transmission and dispersion include manual sharing utilizing removable media, centralized servers on computer networks, World Wide Web-based hyperlinked documents, and the use of distributed peer-to-peer networking.

Request for Comments (RFC), in information and communications technology, is a type of text document from the technology community. An RFC document may come from many bodies including from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), or from independent authors. The RFC system is supported by the Internet Society (ISOC).

Tim Berners-Lee's vision for the World Wide Web was close to a P2P network in that it assumed each user of the web would be an active editor and contributor, creating and linking content to form an interlinked "web" of links. The early Internet was more open than present day, where two machines connected to the Internet could send packets to each other without firewalls and other security measures. [4] [ page needed ] This contrasts to the broadcasting-like structure of the web as it has developed over the years. [6] [7] As a precursor to the Internet, ARPANET was a successful client-server network where "every participating node could request and serve content." However, ARPANET was not self-organized, and it lacked the ability to "provide any means for context or content-based routing beyond 'simple' address-based routing." [7]

Tim Berners-Lee 20th and 21st-century English computer scientist, inventor of the World Wide Web

Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, also known as TimBL, is an English engineer and computer scientist, best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. He is currently a Professorial Fellow of Computer Science at the University of Oxford and Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He made a proposal for an information management system on 12 March 1989, and he implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the internet in mid-November the same year.

World Wide Web System of interlinked hypertext documents accessed over the Internet

The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators, which may be interlinked by hypertext, and are accessible over the Internet. The resources of the WWW may be accessed by users by a software application called a web browser.

Therefore, USENET, a distributed messaging system that is often described as an early peer-to-peer architecture, was established. It was developed in 1979 as a system that enforces a decentralized model of control. The basic model is a client-server model from the user or client perspective that offers a self-organizing approach to newsgroup servers. However, news servers communicate with one another as peers to propagate Usenet news articles over the entire group of network servers. The same consideration applies to SMTP email in the sense that the core email-relaying network of mail transfer agents has a peer-to-peer character, while the periphery of e-mail clients and their direct connections is strictly a client-server relationship.[ citation needed ]

Usenet worldwide distributed Internet discussion system

Usenet is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up network architecture. Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979, and it was established in 1980. Users read and post messages to one or more categories, known as newsgroups. Usenet resembles a bulletin board system (BBS) in many respects and is the precursor to Internet forums that are widely used today. Discussions are threaded, as with web forums and BBSs, though posts are stored on the server sequentially. The name comes from the term "users network".

Decentralized computing is the allocation of resources, both hardware and software, to each individual workstation, or office location. In contrast, centralized computing exists when the majority of functions are carried out, or obtained from a remote centralized location. Decentralized computing is a trend in modern-day business environments. This is the opposite of centralized computing, which was prevalent during the early days of computers. A decentralized computer system has many benefits over a conventional centralized network. Desktop computers have advanced so rapidly, that their potential performance far exceeds the requirements of most business applications. This results in most desktop computers remaining idle. A decentralized system can use the potential of these systems to maximize efficiency. However, it is debatable whether these networks increase overall effectiveness.

A news server is a collection of software used to handle Usenet articles. It may also refer to a computer itself which is primarily or solely used for handling Usenet. A reader server provides an interface to read and post articles, generally with the assistance of a news client. A transit server exchanges articles with other servers. Most servers can provide both functions.

In May 1999, with millions more people on the Internet, Shawn Fanning introduced the music and file-sharing application called Napster. [7] Napster was the beginning of peer-to-peer networks, as we know them today, where "participating users establish a virtual network, entirely independent from the physical network, without having to obey any administrative authorities or restrictions." [7]

Architecture

A peer-to-peer network is designed around the notion of equal peer nodes simultaneously functioning as both "clients" and "servers" to the other nodes on the network. This model of network arrangement differs from the client–server model where communication is usually to and from a central server. A typical example of a file transfer that uses the client-server model is the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) service in which the client and server programs are distinct: the clients initiate the transfer, and the servers satisfy these requests.

Routing and resource discovery

Peer-to-peer networks generally implement some form of virtual overlay network on top of the physical network topology, where the nodes in the overlay form a subset of the nodes in the physical network. Data is still exchanged directly over the underlying TCP/IP network, but at the application layer peers are able to communicate with each other directly, via the logical overlay links (each of which corresponds to a path through the underlying physical network). Overlays are used for indexing and peer discovery, and make the P2P system independent from the physical network topology. Based on how the nodes are linked to each other within the overlay network, and how resources are indexed and located, we can classify networks as unstructured or structured (or as a hybrid between the two). [8] [9] [10]

Unstructured networks

Overlay network diagram for an unstructured P2P network, illustrating the ad hoc nature of the connections between nodes Unstructured peer-to-peer network diagram.png
Overlay network diagram for an unstructured P2P network, illustrating the ad hoc nature of the connections between nodes

Unstructured peer-to-peer networks do not impose a particular structure on the overlay network by design, but rather are formed by nodes that randomly form connections to each other. [11] (Gnutella, Gossip, and Kazaa are examples of unstructured P2P protocols). [12]

Because there is no structure globally imposed upon them, unstructured networks are easy to build and allow for localized optimizations to different regions of the overlay. [13] Also, because the role of all peers in the network is the same, unstructured networks are highly robust in the face of high rates of "churn"—that is, when large numbers of peers are frequently joining and leaving the network. [14] [15]

However, the primary limitations of unstructured networks also arise from this lack of structure. In particular, when a peer wants to find a desired piece of data in the network, the search query must be flooded through the network to find as many peers as possible that share the data. Flooding causes a very high amount of signaling traffic in the network, uses more CPU/memory (by requiring every peer to process all search queries), and does not ensure that search queries will always be resolved. Furthermore, since there is no correlation between a peer and the content managed by it, there is no guarantee that flooding will find a peer that has the desired data. Popular content is likely to be available at several peers and any peer searching for it is likely to find the same thing. But if a peer is looking for rare data shared by only a few other peers, then it is highly unlikely that search will be successful. [16]

Structured networks

Overlay network diagram for a structured P2P network, using a distributed hash table (DHT) to identify and locate nodes/resources Structured (DHT) peer-to-peer network diagram.png
Overlay network diagram for a structured P2P network, using a distributed hash table (DHT) to identify and locate nodes/resources

In structured peer-to-peer networks the overlay is organized into a specific topology, and the protocol ensures that any node can efficiently [17] search the network for a file/resource, even if the resource is extremely rare.

The most common type of structured P2P networks implement a distributed hash table (DHT), [18] [19] in which a variant of consistent hashing is used to assign ownership of each file to a particular peer. [20] [21] This enables peers to search for resources on the network using a hash table: that is, (key, value) pairs are stored in the DHT, and any participating node can efficiently retrieve the value associated with a given key. [22] [23]

Distributed hash tables DHT en.svg
Distributed hash tables

However, in order to route traffic efficiently through the network, nodes in a structured overlay must maintain lists of neighbors that satisfy specific criteria. This makes them less robust in networks with a high rate of churn (i.e. with large numbers of nodes frequently joining and leaving the network). [15] [24] More recent evaluation of P2P resource discovery solutions under real workloads have pointed out several issues in DHT-based solutions such as high cost of advertising/discovering resources and static and dynamic load imbalance. [25]

Notable distributed networks that use DHTs include Tixati, an alternative to BitTorrent's distributed tracker, the Kad network, the Storm botnet, YaCy, and the Coral Content Distribution Network. Some prominent research projects include the Chord project, Kademlia, PAST storage utility, P-Grid, a self-organized and emerging overlay network, and CoopNet content distribution system. [26] DHT-based networks have also been widely utilized for accomplishing efficient resource discovery [27] [28] for grid computing systems, as it aids in resource management and scheduling of applications.

Hybrid models

Hybrid models are a combination of peer-to-peer and client-server models. [29] A common hybrid model is to have a central server that helps peers find each other. Spotify was an example of a hybrid model [until 2014]. There are a variety of hybrid models, all of which make trade-offs between the centralized functionality provided by a structured server/client network and the node equality afforded by the pure peer-to-peer unstructured networks. Currently, hybrid models have better performance than either pure unstructured networks or pure structured networks because certain functions, such as searching, do require a centralized functionality but benefit from the decentralized aggregation of nodes provided by unstructured networks. [30]

CoopNet content distribution system

CoopNet (Cooperative Networking) was a proposed system for off-loading serving to peers who have recently downloaded content, proposed by computer scientists Venkata N. Padmanabhan and Kunwadee Sripanidkulchai, working at Microsoft Research and Carnegie Mellon University. [31] [32] Basically when a server experiences an increase in load it redirects incoming peers to other peers who have agreed to mirror the content, thus off-loading balance from the server. All of the information is retained at the server. This system makes use of the fact that the bottle-neck is most likely in the outgoing bandwidth than the CPU, hence its server-centric design. It assigns peers to other peers who are 'close in IP' to its neighbors [same prefix range] in an attempt to use locality. If multiple peers are found with the same file it designates that the node choose the fastest of its neighbors. Streaming media is transmitted by having clients cache the previous stream, and then transmit it piece-wise to new nodes.

Security and trust

Peer-to-peer systems pose unique challenges from a computer security perspective.

Like any other form of software, P2P applications can contain vulnerabilities. What makes this particularly dangerous for P2P software, however, is that peer-to-peer applications act as servers as well as clients, meaning that they can be more vulnerable to remote exploits. [33]

Routing attacks

Also, since each node plays a role in routing traffic through the network, malicious users can perform a variety of "routing attacks", or denial of service attacks. Examples of common routing attacks include "incorrect lookup routing" whereby malicious nodes deliberately forward requests incorrectly or return false results, "incorrect routing updates" where malicious nodes corrupt the routing tables of neighboring nodes by sending them false information, and "incorrect routing network partition" where when new nodes are joining they bootstrap via a malicious node, which places the new node in a partition of the network that is populated by other malicious nodes. [34]

Corrupted data and malware

The prevalence of malware varies between different peer-to-peer protocols. Studies analyzing the spread of malware on P2P networks found, for example, that 63% of the answered download requests on the gnutella network contained some form of malware, whereas only 3% of the content on OpenFT contained malware. In both cases, the top three most common types of malware accounted for the large majority of cases (99% in gnutella, and 65% in OpenFT). Another study analyzing traffic on the Kazaa network found that 15% of the 500,000 file sample taken were infected by one or more of the 365 different computer viruses that were tested for. [35]

Corrupted data can also be distributed on P2P networks by modifying files that are already being shared on the network. For example, on the FastTrack network, the RIAA managed to introduce faked chunks into downloads and downloaded files (mostly MP3 files). Files infected with the RIAA virus were unusable afterwards and contained malicious code. The RIAA is also known to have uploaded fake music and movies to P2P networks in order to deter illegal file sharing. [36] Consequently, the P2P networks of today have seen an enormous increase of their security and file verification mechanisms. Modern hashing, chunk verification and different encryption methods have made most networks resistant to almost any type of attack, even when major parts of the respective network have been replaced by faked or nonfunctional hosts. [37]

Resilient and scalable computer networks

The decentralized nature of P2P networks increases robustness because it removes the single point of failure that can be inherent in a client-server based system. [38] As nodes arrive and demand on the system increases, the total capacity of the system also increases, and the likelihood of failure decreases. If one peer on the network fails to function properly, the whole network is not compromised or damaged. In contrast, in a typical client–server architecture, clients share only their demands with the system, but not their resources. In this case, as more clients join the system, fewer resources are available to serve each client, and if the central server fails, the entire network is taken down.

Search results for the query "software libre", using YaCy a free distributed search engine that runs on a peer-to-peer network instead making requests to centralized index servers (like Google, Yahoo, and other corporate search engines) Yacy-resultados.png
Search results for the query "software libre", using YaCy a free distributed search engine that runs on a peer-to-peer network instead making requests to centralized index servers (like Google, Yahoo, and other corporate search engines)

There are both advantages and disadvantages in P2P networks related to the topic of data backup, recovery, and availability. In a centralized network, the system administrators are the only forces controlling the availability of files being shared. If the administrators decide to no longer distribute a file, they simply have to remove it from their servers, and it will no longer be available to users. Along with leaving the users powerless in deciding what is distributed throughout the community, this makes the entire system vulnerable to threats and requests from the government and other large forces. For example, YouTube has been pressured by the RIAA, MPAA, and entertainment industry to filter out copyrighted content. Although server-client networks are able to monitor and manage content availability, they can have more stability in the availability of the content they choose to host. A client should not have trouble accessing obscure content that is being shared on a stable centralized network. P2P networks, however, are more unreliable in sharing unpopular files because sharing files in a P2P network requires that at least one node in the network has the requested data, and that node must be able to connect to the node requesting the data. This requirement is occasionally hard to meet because users may delete or stop sharing data at any point. [39]

In this sense, the community of users in a P2P network is completely responsible for deciding what content is available. Unpopular files will eventually disappear and become unavailable as more people stop sharing them. Popular files, however, will be highly and easily distributed. Popular files on a P2P network actually have more stability and availability than files on central networks. In a centralized network, a simple loss of connection between the server and clients is enough to cause a failure, but in P2P networks, the connections between every node must be lost in order to cause a data sharing failure. In a centralized system, the administrators are responsible for all data recovery and backups, while in P2P systems, each node requires its own backup system. Because of the lack of central authority in P2P networks, forces such as the recording industry, RIAA, MPAA, and the government are unable to delete or stop the sharing of content on P2P systems. [40]

Applications

Content delivery

In P2P networks, clients both provide and use resources. This means that unlike client-server systems, the content-serving capacity of peer-to-peer networks can actually increase as more users begin to access the content (especially with protocols such as Bittorrent that require users to share, refer a performance measurement study [41] ). This property is one of the major advantages of using P2P networks because it makes the setup and running costs very small for the original content distributor. [42] [43]

File-sharing networks

Many file peer-to-peer file sharing networks, such as Gnutella, G2, and the eDonkey network popularized peer-to-peer technologies.

Peer-to-peer networking involves data transfer from one user to another without using an intermediate server. Companies developing P2P applications have been involved in numerous legal cases, primarily in the United States, over conflicts with copyright law. [45] Two major cases are Grokster vs RIAA and MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. . [46] In the last case, the Court unanimously held that defendant peer-to-peer file sharing companies Grokster and Streamcast could be sued for inducing copyright infringement.

Multimedia

Energy trading

Companies such as Power Ledger and Bovlabs employ peer-to-peer energy trading platforms. [47] [48]

Other P2P applications

Torrent file connect peers Torrent peers.png
Torrent file connect peers

Social implications

Incentivizing resource sharing and cooperation

The BitTorrent protocol: In this animation, the colored bars beneath all of the 7 clients in the upper region above represent the file being shared, with each color representing an individual piece of the file. After the initial pieces transfer from the seed (large system at the bottom), the pieces are individually transferred from client to client. The original seeder only needs to send out one copy of the file for all the clients to receive a copy. Torrentcomp small.gif
The BitTorrent protocol: In this animation, the colored bars beneath all of the 7 clients in the upper region above represent the file being shared, with each color representing an individual piece of the file. After the initial pieces transfer from the seed (large system at the bottom), the pieces are individually transferred from client to client. The original seeder only needs to send out one copy of the file for all the clients to receive a copy.

Cooperation among a community of participants is key to the continued success of P2P systems aimed at casual human users; these reach their full potential only when large numbers of nodes contribute resources. But in current practice, P2P networks often contain large numbers of users who utilize resources shared by other nodes, but who do not share anything themselves (often referred to as the "freeloader problem"). Freeloading can have a profound impact on the network and in some cases can cause the community to collapse. [51] In these types of networks "users have natural disincentives to cooperate because cooperation consumes their own resources and may degrade their own performance." [52] Studying the social attributes of P2P networks is challenging due to large populations of turnover, asymmetry of interest and zero-cost identity. [52] A variety of incentive mechanisms have been implemented to encourage or even force nodes to contribute resources. [53]

Some researchers have explored the benefits of enabling virtual communities to self-organize and introduce incentives for resource sharing and cooperation, arguing that the social aspect missing from today's P2P systems should be seen both as a goal and a means for self-organized virtual communities to be built and fostered. [54] Ongoing research efforts for designing effective incentive mechanisms in P2P systems, based on principles from game theory, are beginning to take on a more psychological and information-processing direction.

Privacy and anonymity

Some peer-to-peer networks (e.g. Freenet) place a heavy emphasis on privacy and anonymity—that is, ensuring that the contents of communications are hidden from eavesdroppers, and that the identities/locations of the participants are concealed. Public key cryptography can be used to provide encryption, data validation, authorization, and authentication for data/messages. Onion routing and other mix network protocols (e.g. Tarzan) can be used to provide anonymity. [55]

Political implications

Intellectual property law and illegal sharing

Although peer-to-peer networks can be used for legitimate purposes, rights holders have targeted peer-to-peer over the involvement with sharing copyrighted material. Peer-to-peer networking involves data transfer from one user to another without using an intermediate server. Companies developing P2P applications have been involved in numerous legal cases, primarily in the United States, primarily over issues surrounding copyright law. [45] Two major cases are Grokster vs RIAA and MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. [46] In both of the cases the file sharing technology was ruled to be legal as long as the developers had no ability to prevent the sharing of the copyrighted material. To establish criminal liability for the copyright infringement on peer-to-peer systems, the government must prove that the defendant infringed a copyright willingly for the purpose of personal financial gain or commercial advantage. [56] Fair use exceptions allow limited use of copyrighted material to be downloaded without acquiring permission from the rights holders. These documents are usually news reporting or under the lines of research and scholarly work. Controversies have developed over the concern of illegitimate use of peer-to-peer networks regarding public safety and national security. When a file is downloaded through a peer-to-peer network, it is impossible to know who created the file or what users are connected to the network at a given time. Trustworthiness of sources is a potential security threat that can be seen with peer-to-peer systems. [57]

A study ordered by the European Union found that illegal downloading may lead to an increase in overall video game sales because newer games charge for extra features or levels. The paper concluded that piracy had a negative financial impact on movies, music, and literature. The study relied on self-reported data about game purchases and use of illegal download sites. Pains were taken to remove effects of false and misremembered responses. [58] [59] [60]

Network neutrality

Peer-to-peer applications present one of the core issues in the network neutrality controversy. Internet service providers (ISPs) have been known to throttle P2P file-sharing traffic due to its high-bandwidth usage. [61] Compared to Web browsing, e-mail or many other uses of the internet, where data is only transferred in short intervals and relative small quantities, P2P file-sharing often consists of relatively heavy bandwidth usage due to ongoing file transfers and swarm/network coordination packets. In October 2007, Comcast, one of the largest broadband Internet providers in the United States, started blocking P2P applications such as BitTorrent. Their rationale was that P2P is mostly used to share illegal content, and their infrastructure is not designed for continuous, high-bandwidth traffic. Critics point out that P2P networking has legitimate legal uses, and that this is another way that large providers are trying to control use and content on the Internet, and direct people towards a client-server-based application architecture. The client-server model provides financial barriers-to-entry to small publishers and individuals, and can be less efficient for sharing large files. As a reaction to this bandwidth throttling, several P2P applications started implementing protocol obfuscation, such as the BitTorrent protocol encryption. Techniques for achieving "protocol obfuscation" involves removing otherwise easily identifiable properties of protocols, such as deterministic byte sequences and packet sizes, by making the data look as if it were random. [62] The ISP's solution to the high bandwidth is P2P caching, where an ISP stores the part of files most accessed by P2P clients in order to save access to the Internet.

Current research

Researchers have used computer simulations to aid in understanding and evaluating the complex behaviors of individuals within the network. "Networking research often relies on simulation in order to test and evaluate new ideas. An important requirement of this process is that results must be reproducible so that other researchers can replicate, validate, and extend existing work." [63] If the research cannot be reproduced, then the opportunity for further research is hindered. "Even though new simulators continue to be released, the research community tends towards only a handful of open-source simulators. The demand for features in simulators, as shown by our criteria and survey, is high. Therefore, the community should work together to get these features in open-source software. This would reduce the need for custom simulators, and hence increase repeatability and reputability of experiments." [63]

Besides all the above stated facts, there have been work done on ns-2 open source network simulator. One research issue related to free rider detection and punishment has been explored using ns-2 simulator here. [64]

See also

Related Research Articles

Client–server model Distributed application structure in computing

Client–server model is a distributed application structure that partitions tasks or workloads between the providers of a resource or service, called servers, and service requesters, called clients. Often clients and servers communicate over a computer network on separate hardware, but both client and server may reside in the same system. A server host runs one or more server programs which share their resources with clients. A client does not share any of its resources, but requests a server's content or service function. Clients therefore initiate communication sessions with servers which await incoming requests. Examples of computer applications that use the client–server model are Email, network printing, and the World Wide Web.

Distributed hash table a decentralized distributed system that provides a lookup service similar to a hash table

A distributed hash table (DHT) is a class of a decentralized distributed system that provides a lookup service similar to a hash table: pairs are stored in a DHT, and any participating node can efficiently retrieve the value associated with a given key. Keys are unique identifiers which map to particular values, which in turn can be anything from addresses, to documents, to arbitrary data. Responsibility for maintaining the mapping from keys to values is distributed among the nodes, in such a way that a change in the set of participants causes a minimal amount of disruption. This allows a DHT to scale to extremely large numbers of nodes and to handle continual node arrivals, departures, and failures.

BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing protocol

BitTorrent is a communication protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) which is used to distribute data and electronic files over the Internet.

An anonymous P2P communication system is a peer-to-peer distributed application in which the nodes, which are used to share resources, or participants are anonymous or pseudonymous. Anonymity of participants is usually achieved by special routing overlay networks that hide the physical location of each node from other participants.

Mnet is a software to run a distributed peer-to-peer distributed data store for file sharing purpose.

Content delivery network umbrella term spanning different types of content delivery services

A content delivery network or content distribution network (CDN) is a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers. The goal is to provide high availability and high performance by distributing the service spatially relative to end-users. CDNs serve a large portion of the Internet content today, including web objects, downloadable objects, applications, live streaming media, on-demand streaming media, and social media sites.

An overlay network is a computer network that is built on top of another network.

The eDonkey Network is a decentralized, mostly server-based, peer-to-peer file sharing network created in 2000 by US developers Jed McCaleb and Sam Yagan that is best suited to share big files among users, and to provide long term availability of files. Like most sharing networks, it is decentralized, as there is not any central hub for the network; also, files are not stored on a central server but are exchanged directly between users based on the peer-to-peer principle.

BitTorrent is an ad-supported BitTorrent client developed by Bram Cohen and BitTorrent, Inc. used for uploading and downloading files via the BitTorrent protocol. BitTorrent was the first client written for the protocol. It is often nicknamed Mainline by developers denoting its official origins. Since version 6.0 the BitTorrent client has been a rebranded version of µTorrent. As a result, it is no longer open source. It is currently available for Microsoft Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.

A network host is a computer or other device connected to a computer network. A host may work as a server offering information resources, services, and applications to users or other hosts on the network. Hosts are assigned at least one network address.

Wireless grids are wireless computer networks consisting of different types of electronic devices with the ability to share their resources with any other device in the network in an ad hoc manner. A definition of the wireless grid can be given as: "Ad hoc, distributed resource-sharing networks between heterogeneous wireless devices" The following key characteristics further clarify this concept:

In computing, a shared resource, or network share, is a computer resource made available from one host to other hosts on a computer network. It is a device or piece of information on a computer that can be remotely accessed from another computer, typically via a local area network or an enterprise intranet, transparently as if it were a resource in the local machine. Network sharing is made possible by inter-process communication over the network.

Tribler Peer-to-peer filesharing software and protocol

Tribler is an open source decentralized BitTorrent client which allows anonymous peer-to-peer by default. Tribler is based on the BitTorrent protocol and uses an overlay network for content searching, which makes the program operate independently of external websites and renders it immune to limiting external action such as government restraint. Due to this overlay network, Tribler does not require an external website or indexing service to discover content. The user interface of Tribler is very basic and focused on ease of use instead of diversity of features. Tribler is available for Linux, Windows, and OS X.

Peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) systems like Gnutella, KaZaA, and eDonkey/eMule, have become extremely popular in recent years, with the estimated user population in the millions. An academic research paper pointed out some weaknesses of two popular P2P networks in protecting user's privacy. The research analyzed Gnutella and eMule protocols and found weaknesses in the protocol; many of the issues found in these networks are fundamental and probably common on other P2P networks. Users of file sharing networks, such as eMule and Gnutella, are subject to monitoring of their activity. Clients may be tracked by IP address, DNS name, software version they use, files they share, queries they initiate, and queries they answer to.

Distributed networking is a distributed computing network system where components of the program and data depend on multiple sources.

Peer-to-peer SIP (P2P-SIP) is an implementation of a distributed voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or instant messaging communications application using a peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture in which session control between communication end points is facilitated with the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).

Peer-to-peer web hosting is using peer-to-peer networking to distribute access to webpages. This is differentiated from the client–server model which involves the distribution of Web data between dedicated web servers and user-end client computers.

Torrent poisoning is intentionally sharing corrupt data or data with misleading file names using the BitTorrent protocol. This practice of uploading fake torrents is sometimes carried out by anti-infringement organisations as an attempt to prevent the peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing of copyrighted content, and to gather the IP addresses of downloaders.

Data grid

A data grid is an architecture or set of services that gives individuals or groups of users the ability to access, modify and transfer extremely large amounts of geographically distributed data for research purposes. Data grids make this possible through a host of middleware applications and services that pull together data and resources from multiple administrative domains and then present it to users upon request. The data in a data grid can be located at a single site or multiple sites where each site can be its own administrative domain governed by a set of security restrictions as to who may access the data. Likewise, multiple replicas of the data may be distributed throughout the grid outside their original administrative domain and the security restrictions placed on the original data for who may access it must be equally applied to the replicas. Specifically developed data grid middleware is what handles the integration between users and the data they request by controlling access while making it available as efficiently as possible. The adjacent diagram depicts a high level view of a data grid.

A distributed file system for cloud is a file system that allows many clients to have access to data and supports operations on that data. Each data file may be partitioned into several parts called chunks. Each chunk may be stored on different remote machines, facilitating the parallel execution of applications. Typically, data is stored in files in a hierarchical tree, where the nodes represent directories. There are several ways to share files in a distributed architecture: each solution must be suitable for a certain type of application, depending on how complex the application is. Meanwhile, the security of the system must be ensured. Confidentiality, availability and integrity are the main keys for a secure system.

References

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