Networking Investigate

Using Torrent Inflation to Efficiently Serve the Long Tail in Peer-Assisted Content Delivery Systems

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Executive Summary

A peer-assisted content delivery system uses the upload bandwidth of its clients to assist in delivery of popular content. In peer-assisted systems using a BitTorrent-like protocol, a content delivery server seeds the offered files, and active torrents form when multiple clients make closely-spaced requests for the same content. Scalability is achieved in the sense of being able to accommodate arbitrarily high request rates for individual files. Scalability with respect to the number of files, however, may be much more difficult to achieve, owing to a "Long tail" of lukewarm or cold files for which the server may need to assume most or all of the delivery cost.

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