On Blind Mice and the Elephant
A thorough understanding of the network impact of emerging large-scale distributed systems - where traffic flows and what it costs - must encompass users' behavior, the traffic they generate and the topology over which that traffic flows. In the case of BitTorrent, however, previous studies have been limited by narrow perspectives that restrict such analysis. This paper presents a comprehensive view of BitTorrent, using data from a representative set of 500,000 users sampled over a two year period, located in 169 countries and 3,150 networks. This unique perspective captures unseen trends and reveals several unexpected features of the largest peer-to-peer system.