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Cringely on P2P vs Streaming Data Centers

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the next-olympics-to-be-streamed dept.

179

Anonymous Coward writes "Robert X Cringely is postulating today that as bandwidth applications grow, the data centers will never be ready to serve 30 million concurrent streams of data. Akamai, with its tens of thousands of servers spread in an intelligent topology, still can't serve more than 150,000 concurrent streams, which is never going to impress the TV network exec used to audiences in the millions. Cringely choruses that secure P2P is the solution to delivering not only high quality video but also to audiences that scale in the millions. BitTorrent seems to have worn out it's welcome with the MPAA recently, so maybe the future holds P2P networks owned and managed by Hollywood?"

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179 comments

Change the paradigm (2, Interesting)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801870)

Sure, currently 150,000 copies of data puts a large strain on the servers... what about one copy broadcast via multicast, much akin to airwaves?

Re:Change the paradigm (2, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801878)

Yep, but there has to be a serious profit motive for the network providers because they will have to do a LOT of work to get multicast working reliably across their entire network.

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801899)

I think a mix between streaming video and torrents would work pretty well for this.

Either that or be a public service provider? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14801943)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/multicast/ [bbc.co.uk]

Just one reason why the BBC is better that any media companies in the US (imo).

From what I've seen of US tv, if I lived there I wouldn't bother with a TV, and if you think I'm being anti-US, I also have to say that watching German, French, Swiss and Italian TV whilst on holiday in Europe convinced me I wouldn't bother with a tv if I lived their either.

That's not to say the BBC is the only good quality tv provider in the UK, we also have providers such as Channel 4, but then again, they are also part publicly funded...

P.S. I'm not sure if by network providers you meant the ISPs, but if that is the case then I ought to point out that the BBC is peering directly with other ISPs at LINX in London and this should benefit both sides as the bandwidth required for multicasing should be greatly reduced.

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

DeepHurtn! (773713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801886)

Don't you mean "go back to the old paradigm"? Isn't the whole appeal of IP based content distribution to get away from that model? Content on demand, yada yada yada?

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

someone300 (891284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802202)

How about if for everything that's being downloaded, the server will multicast packets in a loop. I mean, so that if you don't catch the first five minutes, your computer will just keep downloading until it loops to the start again, and download the first five minutes it missed.

Obviously this won't work for streaming, but a similar method could be employed.. in particular, it could start multicasting a movie every 5 minutes, so that you'll never be more than 5 minutes away from the start of a movie, and servers will be able to offer higher quality lag. Yeah, 5 minutes is a longer wait than desirable, but still quicker than going to the shop. Software could be used to figure out what movies are popular and adjust the broadcast interval appropriately.

Just my ideas ;)

Re:Change the paradigm (2, Informative)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801898)

Multicasting will deal with the challenge faced with distributing a single live event. However, TV networks are moving into Video On Demand as quickly as they can. They will have to probably invest in two distribution bases.

1) Multicast for "Regularly scheduled programming"
2) P2P for day after and future VOD distribution.

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801918)

Or you could combine the two to create a sort of "push VOD" like Akimbo, MovieBeam, etc.

Re:Change the paradigm (2, Interesting)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801932)

Then how do you control it? Its the same problem with radio. At least with radio you make the majority of profit from sponsors and advertisement so theres no need to control distribution (not to mention the fact that its relatively cheap to setup a radio station). So its 'ok' if you have no control of who hears the content. (More ears = more audience = more sponsors)

But when you put it online (multicasting, Bittorrent, whatever) how do you tell whats your audience? You can't track them, hackers would go insane and tear the tracking code out. Centralizing is too cumbersome (bandwidth costs would skyrocket) and de-centralization (Napster) only works if people 'opt-in' to whatever crazy system the company picks. The iTunes store does fairly well as a centralized system, but even Apple has admitted this, their profits are virtually a joke in terms of actual cash amount.

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801959)

You use encryption and locked-down client software/hardware like iTunes or Akimbo. (Of course, anything can be cracked, so your system only has to be more secure than DVDs.)

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802096)

Bingo. What, exactly, is the difference between multicast on the 'net and DirecTV? Both broadcast to everyone, both are only supposed to be used by paying customers. DirecTV does it successfully, so does Dish Network. And there are satellite TV companies in other countries as well.

So why can't they do it with Multicast?

As for figuring out how many people are watching, another reply has it right: we don't know now, so worst case scenario, what changes there?

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802131)

What, exactly, is the difference between multicast on the 'net and DirecTV? Both broadcast to everyone, both are only supposed to be used by paying customers.

What, exactly, is the difference between a taxi cab company and an airplane company? Both offer services to everyone, both are only supposed to be used by paying customers.

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802058)

But when you put it online (multicasting, Bittorrent, whatever) how do you tell whats your audience? You can't track them, hackers would go insane and tear the tracking code out.

I know! Imagine if television signals were broadcast over the air, to cathode ray tube based devices with little to no digital components at all, and no way for viewing data to be sent back to the broadcaster?

Oh wait, that's the way it's worked for over 50 years. And there's a multibillion dollar ratings collection company devoted to collecting data in this sort of context.

Their first innovation? All the households they use for ratings participate voluntarily. Nielsen families *want* the broadcasters to know what they are and aren't watching.

Re:Change the paradigm (0)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802100)

In a specially selected sample of homes, Nielsen Media Research technicians install metering equipment on TV sets, VCRs and cable boxes (and even satellite dishes). The NielsenTV meters automatically and invisibly keep track of when the sets are on and what the sets are tuned to. These meters are connected to a central "black box," which is actually a very small computer and modem. Information from the meters is collected by the black box, and in the middle of the night all the black boxes call in their information to our central computers.

Quoted from http://www.nielsenmedia.com/whatratingsmean/ [nielsenmedia.com] . That doesn't sound like voluntary participation to me. And besides, it would be impossible to allow people to choose whether or not they have a Nielsen box installed in their TV/VCR/cable box/satellite dish. Every sci-fi geek would be opting-out ("zomg its Big Brother!") and every American Idol watcher would opt-in ("maybe I can be on the show next season!").

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

qeveren (318805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802126)

The owner of the equipment still has to allow them to install the tracking gear. I highly doubt the Nielsen people have managed to acquire the ability to unilaterally enter your home and mess with your AV gear...

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802163)

From the "Neilsen Families" page... [tinyurl.com]

"If Nielsen TV Ratings has contacted you, we hope you will participate"

If that's not voluntary, I don't know what is...

Re:Change the paradigm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802281)

You're a fucking idiot. Seriously.

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802078)

how exactly do you count the number of television watchers or radio listeners ? it's easy ... you don't ...

the tv companies have no ide how many people are watching them, they believe the poll results that are given to them by poll companies that are in close connection with them and therefor not objective ... there are automatic machines that can be placed between the tv and the antenna, but that only measures the looking statistics of people that really have this item installed (in my country there is a polling company that installs them, but since only very few people have it installed, it's again very far from reflecting the whole nation)

one request to a server upon each 'start' of watching won't kill the servers if the content is coming from elsewhere. and is by far more accurate than any polling company can give you.

ps.
(not to mention the fact that its relatively cheap to setup a radio station). <--- my dearest, you obviously have no idea how much the licence to broadcast costs, ofcourse depends on the country but still , there are pretty many zeroes at the end of the number ...

Its artifically high, the hardware cost is low (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802141)

Radio is only high because there is demand, and the govt sees it as a free cash cow to go charging
$0000000000000's worth so the station will have a hard time recovering the cost.

Hardware wise its peanuts. Hell, its probably cheaper to pay $10m to make a sat and launch a sat from russia for $20m, than
pay the local govt $80m for a damn licence. And go broadcast from space geo.

Imagine if the govt suddenly made a 'website licence' and charged people $1000/yr. Or a streaming media licence for
$10/gig/year or something stupid the govt people think up of based on MONEY WE NEED / something calculable.

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802146)

You know, there is a science called statistics. And statistics can tell you how many households you need to get a certain margin of error for your measurement. As long as the households are randomly selected (not too hard to do), it's accurate to a percent or so even with a smallish sample.

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802135)

The iTunes store does fairly well as a centralized system, but even Apple has admitted this, their profits are virtually a joke in terms of actual cash amount.
iTunes is not wildly profitable because the Record Companies said "give us X% or we won't give you access to our catalogues"

Apple got their foot in the door and is laughing all the way to the bank. They could lose money on iTunes and still be laughing, all because the iPod is making a killing.

Now, Apple has enough muscle to tell the **AA to go pound sand [wordorigins.org] and make it stick when the **AA wanted to raise prices in the iTunes music store.

Independant bands & smaller labels get a smaller cut of the profits than the RIAA, but even that is still more than they would get if they were under a RIAA label.

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

La Gris (531858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802154)

Ask the multicast router about who get the feed. Already done by IPTV providers.

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

localman (111171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802323)

Wait a sec, there's no tracking code in analog radio or television. They do it by sample surveys. Why can't they do the same for internet multicast?

Cheers.

Hot Tub Etiquette (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802137)

P2P narrowcasting so that everyone can watch their favorite show any time of day _they choose_ is like telling everyone in a crowded hot tub to move to the other side simultaneously.

p2p Broadcasting a single feed is like having everyone shift over one seat.

you get to sit next to the jet the same amount time. But you may not get to sit there when you choose.

Re:Change the paradigm (1)

joecrawler (957264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802214)

hey guys the taperecorder stole from records dvd ,broadcasters the p2p stole from everybody what is your point people will steal weather its from p2p or what ever some body will crack or hack the latest media that they said can not be cracked Any ways my point is people will steal any ways weather it is big companys or your joe at home

The problem already has a solution (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14801875)

It's called multicasting. If anyone actually supported it, life would be great. We use it internally for live video and it's great.

Re:The problem already has a solution (2, Interesting)

ExE122 (954104) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801916)

I think the key issue is that everyone is asking for flawless, high quality, on demand data streams. We currently have streaming broadcasts over a User Datagram Protocol.

The difference between UDP and other protocols is that UDP does not ensure that packets are not lost. This works well for audio and video because if you miss a frame or two, you probably won't notice too much. This is the equivalent of broadcasting a signal over the air waves. Sometimes it'll be a little fuzzy, but you can still understand what's being sent.

But like I mentioned before, UDP streaming broadcasts will not give you a high quality, 100% accurate and on demand data stream. That's why we're focussing on P2P instead.

I think the worries over the datacenters is a bit unfounded at the moment. 10 years ago, using 1GB of harddrive space and ever needing more than a 14.4kbps modem seemed insane. But now things are different. And the cable tv to internet swtich won't happen overnight. I think our technology will catch up by the time it catches on.

Re:The problem already has a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14801960)

Mostly true, re:UDP, but remember that many protocols implemented over UDP do, to varying degrees, re-implement portions of the TCP transmission guarantee.

I agree, however, that jumping the gun and worrying about the technology of distribution is a bit premature, when there is no business model that Hollywood et al are ready to get behind. Sure, this is a bit of an argument about the chicken and the egg, but ultimately there are multiple issues that Hollywood needs to solve or accept, such as DRM or the lack thereof, before the transmission method really becomes a real issue. Content producers are likely going to want to work those issues out on the small scale first, so transmitting data to millions of people simaltaneously will not be an issue immediately, for most applications and content.

Studying future problems is always good, but trying to pigeonhole solutions based on today's technology, when the practical solutions will use tomorrow's, is always a little dangerous.

Re:The problem already has a solution (1)

Skrekkur (739061) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801989)

Actually you can make UDP reliable multicasting (at least much more so) with using buffering and traditional NACKS( negative acknowledgements) to request a resend of lost packet, this part can be optimized with requesting that lost packet from another client and thus merging this with p2p, but that isn't necesserily needed.
Most streaming media (expecially video) will withstand some packetlosses however as long as keyframes aren't lost(there are ways to make sure they don't or at least reduce the chances of that happening by alot). May I also remind you that TV digital or not is not 100% accurate as it is and is in most cases not needed unless the case is you want to buy something online and own it in which case you will want to have it in perfect shape.
That being said then P2P could help with that portion of media distributions, and we can see companies like blizzard starting to use P2P to answer the insane demand for every update and patch they make for WOW.

Re:The problem already has a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802032)

Add reed-solomon error correction on the content in the UDP-stream.

It's more than multicasting (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802148)

I beleive this is supposed to be more than multi-casting. I think Cringley was saying that Akami can't handle more than 150,000 simultanoues streams of the same stream let alone different streams. I bet they multi-cast those streams. As I read it he means that to multi-cast to 30 million folks you need to have a tree structure with each node multi-casting it's part. So now simply multi-casting is not the solution.

BT and Hollywood (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801881)

Hollywood hasn't soured on BitTorrent itself, only a bunch of w4r3z tracking sites.

Re:BT and Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802045)

The article is an Internet troll [wikipedia.org] the "anonymous coward" submitted the cringle article quickly, with a number of 'flamebait' comments, and scored a luccky hit, as Zonk was in the offices, and only cared that the link was somewhat interesting and didn't seem to be linked previously.

As such, almost none of the comments in this article are about the article or it's text, but rather people replying to the flamebait in the article summary.

YHBT HTH HAND.

What happened to all the... (2, Insightful)

Osrin (599427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801882)

... multicast and proxy technology that we have spent the last 10+ years working on to solve this problem?

Re:What happened to the MBONE? (3, Informative)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802039)

Whatever happened to the MBONE? I see that a book on the subject is now posted to the web and freely copyable because it's gone out of print. The MBONE FAQ dates from 1993. That's like (/me whips out his HP-41C calculator) 13 years old. Apparently the IETF has a group for MBONE Deployment, but it hasn't been updated since last September, and even then it was a year late for its final milestone.

Re:What happened to the MBONE? (2, Insightful)

akumria (83683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802389)

IPv4 multicast across the Internet will never happen.

The reason is the complexity involved in deployment (multiple protocols, MBGP, MSDP, etc.) and that you have the 'third-party problem'. Basically both transmitters and receivers have to rely on a third-party for a redezvous-point.

Scalable Internet wide multicast deployment *might* happen with IPv6 because some of the issues have been solved (using, for example, embedable rendevous points - negating the need the 3rd parties). However if you look at how ISPs are architectured with xDSL networks, there isn't any incentive to provide multicast at the tail end.

Multicast works....it's political (3, Informative)

Danathar (267989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802142)

Multicast has been deployed on Internet2 for some time now. I've watched 720p streams multicasted from Europe with no problem.

The problem with deploying it on the commercial Internet is political. Backbone commercial Internet providers have had multicast on for a LONG time. ISP's that give you your home broadband connection which are mostly cable TV operators and companies like verizon don't want to provide a cost effective way for content providers on the net to deliver video. They would rather charge you for their "middleman" service. It's not like they don't know how to enable it, all they need to do is enable it on their switches and routers.

Most cable operators use multicast already to stream the channels through their set top boxes.

In Britain The BBC is working with ISP's to multicast to broadband connections. That would REALLY be nice if something similar happened here (In the U.S.)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/multicast/ [bbc.co.uk]

Re:What happened ... (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802147)

> What happened to all the multicast and proxy technology that we have spent the last 10+ years working on to solve this problem?

The same that happened with IPv6 ? Technology is right here but currently almost nobody cares to use it...

Re:What happened ... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802209)

And the obvious follow up question is: why not if they want it?

Or maybe media companies just don't want a working online model instead of overloaded Akamai servers?

Sell the keys... (1)

LeDopore (898286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801887)

Why can't they make a non-viewable DRM'ed version freely available for P2P, but then offer the keys needed to view the media through a direct download model? How is this not the best of both worlds?

Figures (5, Insightful)

Kawahee (901497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801888)

"Akamai, with its tens of thousands of servers spread in an intelligent topology, still can't serve more than 150,000 concurrent streams"

Assuming Akamai has only 10,000 servers, that's 15 streams per server. C'mon now, we're not that stupid.

Re:Figures (1)

eipgam (945201) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801925)

Actually, with some of the more interactive (read dynamic) streams that some multimedia R&D labs are looking to exploit even 15 streams being rendered in (or faster than) real-time is pushing it currently.

yeah, but that's not the subject here (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801936)

The subject here seems to be "TV-like" streaming, which is just pushing out streaming already-rendered video files.

Re:yeah, but that's not the subject here (1)

eipgam (945201) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801949)

That's true, but then that's assuming that as more and more people move to IPTV type solutions they'll be remaining with static, pre-rendered video files. This is of course a flawed assumption.

are you retarded? (1)

weierstrass (669421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801974)

the subject is what's happening now.

no assumptions about how things might be different in the future are needed or implied.

right, lets not look at the future (1)

dknj (441802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802379)

"640K should be enough for everybody"

Akamai embellishment (5, Insightful)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801957)

The Akamai figures are the embellishment of the submitter... Cringely doesn't mention Akamai anywhere in the article.

Re:Akamai embellishment (1)

Kawahee (901497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802008)

Well noted.

Re:Figures (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802016)

Assuming Akamai has only 10,000 servers, that's 15 streams per server. C'mon now, we're not that stupid.

Maybe they're just short on bandwidth? 150,000 HDTV video streams is a hell of a lot of bits per second. Actually, it's 1/3rd of a terrabyte/sec, or so.

I'm willing to bet that akamai's more focused on sending large numbers of people 10k files periodically, than sending 18 mb/s video streams.

what idiot would stream mpeg2? (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802151)

It wouldnt take 18mbs for HDTV, you could do it using H.264 and only use say, 1-2mbs max. (based on 400kbs at 720x320 * 4 = 1400x600 at 1.6mbs)

The BBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802171)

Interesting BBC streaming stats [bbc.co.uk] . They peak at 129,000 streams. And that's just one client that got one big pipe and buy some extra from Akamai. So, you're correct... the intro is utter hogwash.

The future is peer. (2, Informative)

soupdevil (587476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801895)

Content creators and content consumers are becoming one and the same. You can see this every day on sites like Jamendo [jamendo.com] and Flickr [flickr.com] .

Re:The future is peer. (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801923)

No, they're not. 'Content consumers turned content creators' is nothing new, they just have a platform to distribute their work more easily now. This in no way suggests quality of work , it merely increases the signal to noise ratio.

Re:The future is peer. (1)

soupdevil (587476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802018)

The distribution is the new part. Distribution by a major corporation doesn't suggest quality of work either. Filters are necessary, but monolithic corporations are only one kind of filter. Tags, ratings and reviews are alternatives, and more will be on the way, I'm sure.

Re:The future is peer. (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802350)

What's so "high-quality" about "Desperate Housewives" or "Lost"? Most of the photos on Flikr are infinitely more interesting than the crappy TV that's forcing us to have DRM-ed everything.

Can we just get it over with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14801908)

Can we just get it over with and get a cringely section? I really, really don't fucking want to have to be continually bothered with the verbal diahhrea of an idiot who's given a nationally syndicated column and then uses it to do dumb shit like write an entire article about multicast concepts and practices without realizing they were invented 15 years ago.

I'm sure someone, somewhere on slashdot actually wants to see and comment on whatever train wreck cringely has created this week, and that's fine. Therefore I wish to propose this: Create a specific slashdot section for Cringely and John Dvorak. Call it "pundits with sub-human intelligence", or PWSHI for short. That way, slashdot can continue to post articles about whatever trainwreck Cringely and/or Dvorak have started this week, and I can block them in my slashdot preferences, and everyone is happy.

Re:Can we just get it over with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802274)

Your 100% right. All I hear is cringely this, cringely that.

The guy does not make innovative statements, and its more just repeated well known information. He doesn't even offer decent solutions.

If you look around, Gnome for instance develops new ideas and starts bounties for them.. http://www.gnome.org/bounties/ [gnome.org]

If you want new technology ideas, Auzy has his own set (which actually covers this) http://auzy.blogspot.com/2006/02/auzys-technology- predictionswishlist.html [blogspot.com]

Now if you look at Cringely's, its already well known information, and his solutions are lacking. His not even trying to solve the issues. How this got into Slashdot and concepts by gnome or Auzy didn't is quite saddening.. its gotten to the point that every week its Cringely said this. The authors obviously dont know what people want.

I think I hate to say this, but I dont think I'll be hanging out at slashdot much anymore. Its turned into quite a sad state.

- Resistant Memory

CoDiO P2P Streaming (1)

zalas (682627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801913)

I recently attended a talk that was part of a PhD student's oral defense. He detailed a really nice streaming video system that is congestion optimized instead of rate optimized called CoDiO [stanford.edu] . I asked him how long he thinks it would take to market this, but I think he said that they're still working out the kinks in the practical application. So yeah, the technology is definitely there to stream video over P2P, but I don't know about DRM. Then again... regular terrestrial TV broadcasts aren't hampered with copy protection as far as I know, so maybe the DRM is unnecessary for broadcasts with commercials?

Re:CoDiO P2P Streaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14801928)

Seems like the company Cringely mentions - www.GridNetworks.com is streaming from a p2p thing. Are they using CoDiO?

Re:CoDiO P2P Streaming (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802185)

> Then again... regular terrestrial TV broadcasts aren't hampered
> with copy protection as far as I know...

HDTV will be.

Predictions (2, Interesting)

chris macura (899109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801915)

Great. Another prediction on what technology will or will not be able to do in the near future.

We all know how accurate these are.

Also: There is a difference between serving the exact same fucking content, at the same time to 1 million people and generating custom pages on-demand for 1 million people.

Simple solution to this problem (0)

auzy (680819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801933)

I actually proposed a very simple solution to this problem recently in my blog post http://auzy.blogspot.com/2006/02/auzys-technology- predictionswishlist.html [blogspot.com]

If they add support for multiple href's in a a href tag, such as <a href="http://mirror1/..." a href="http://mirror2/...">Link</a> then it would open up the possibilities of doing P2P type webserving, as the users could run a program to announce the address of their computer to the webserver after they got the download, and the webserver could give each user a long list of a href's which the client could download simultaneously off a few for larger files. It would also make having a list of mirrors for a file easier to manage, instead of posting 30 links on a page.

It really is a simple problem to solve even now effortlessly, and its only a matter of time until browsers start adding support for such a mechanism.

Re:Simple solution to this problem (1)

aiken_d (127097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801955)

Of course, spammers would go around to every site and add their own href's that pretended to me mirrors, but actually redirected to their own sites (or downloaded malware instead of the intended app).

I think the internet already has enough issues surrounding authentication and identity; no need to break something as basic as the web with yet another one.

-b

Re:Simple solution to this problem (1)

auzy (680819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801999)

So add a hash tag as well.. easy.. And both easily implemented

Re:Simple solution to this problem (1)

leenks (906881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801968)

Or just host a torrent? None of these solutions really help the video problem though. Sure, I could mirror the file, but hell, no way am I going to do that on my connection. Some of us get tiny upload allowances which completely swamp our connections and make downloading a nightmare when used...

Re:Simple solution to this problem (1)

nightgeometry (661444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801971)

I have been thinking about a remarkably similar (I think) system. Not really my area though, so no more than thinking about it, unfortunately.

Hows about browsers act a little like Bittorrent apps, and once you have downloaded a page you start serving it in a torrentish (hey, new word, yay. unless someone else has already used it) way. Presumably you would want some way of ensuring that my browser doesn't alter the bit of the page that I am going to serve, but I assume bittorrent already does this.

Yes, it does seem a hell of a change for something that maybe few people will ever see the benefit of, but... I want to put a couple of hundred pics up for viewing, I have some web space, but the photo's are highest quality jpegs I could export from my original RAW images (in turn from an 8 mega pixel camera). That takes a reasonable amount of space, but more importantly a lot of bandwidth. Say they generate some interest, then my bandwidth bill goes through the roof. But if someone views that content then they inherently have a copy of it, and some of their bandwidth could be used to serve the pics (and their bandwidth is lesser, but cheaper (assuming DSL providers don't start charging extra for upstream bandwidth).

I'm sure someone has probably thought this through, and somewhere there is probably either a) a rebuttal or b) at least an initial implentation. I wish I knew which, as I would consider the rebuttal, or help test.

Anyway, it seemed kinda close to your idea, or it did to me. And if it ever happened, no more slashdottings (maybe).

Re:Simple solution to this problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802206)

How about a round robin group? DNS has the ability to do that simply.

Re:Simple solution to this problem (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802380)

> announce the address of their computer to the webserver after they got the download

The problem is that the Internet is one-way these days. Most home users (i.e. the consumers of this content) don't have a real IP address, so this won't work.

What we need is multicast and IPv6.

Someone clearly didn't get the idea of P2P (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801950)

so maybe the future holds P2P networks owned and managed by Hollywood?

No way. I'm gald to support the legal P2P community; I frequently leave Knoppix or other Linux distros running for weeks on end on a spare system here and make available my modest upstream bandwidth. And I can understand that some may want to use their bandwidth to share material that might anger the MPAA or RIAA (and particularly in the case of the RIAA I don't have very negative feelings about that). But that's a far cry from ever thinking that the RIAA or MPAA could ever get P2P working where others contribute their paid for bandwidth for these thugs to make a profit on. And for those few who do there will be plenty more like me who may go out of our way to poison the streams and keep the scheeme from working.

And before everyone gives feedback that it might work if the criminal organizations give a "discount" in return for leaving the feed up for so long, perhaps the public would indeed be stupid enough to fall for that, after all they buy songs and ringtones at insane prices in formats that lock them into DRM scheems and keep them from moving them to the next device they own. But in reality these groups will not be giving any discounts, they will just inflate the prices further and then tell people how much they "save" if they contribute bandwidth to support these rackets. Yes, maybe some people are stupid enough to fall for this, but it certainly should not be encouraged.

No free lunch (1)

Bozovision (107228) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801962)

Why exactly would anyone want to donate their bandwidth to movie distributors? What benefit would you get out of it? Restricted viewing rights through DRM doesn't sound like a benefit to me. I don't see how they'd square this circle; it's not a reasonable trade-off.

Re:No free lunch (1)

PatTheGreat (956344) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802034)

I think the deal would be "Sure, we'll let you stream all this cool stuff, but not unless you help us."

i.e., the only way to get the content would be to agree to letting them steal your bandwidth. Maybe if you compare it to a toll or something, it would make you feel better, eh?

Re:No free lunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802087)

The benefit to pay less than for an equivalent centralized system?

Re:No free lunch (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802288)

The stupid thing of it is that the bandwidth donated by P2P servers is pure waste anyways. A packet sent from a leaf node of the Internet to another leaf node makes TWO trips - one up to the backbone, and one back down. A packet served from a data center right on the backbone only has to make the trip down. So P2P just wastes bandwidth. As for server horsepower, I'm not worried about it at all. Serving up static content (like a movie, which isn't tailored to each recipient) is super easy.

More like a "stolen" lunch. (1)

chub_mackerel (911522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802353)

Why exactly would anyone want to donate their bandwidth to movie distributors? What benefit would you get out of it? Restricted viewing rights through DRM doesn't sound like a benefit to me. I don't see how they'd square this circle; it's not a reasonable trade-off.

Truly informed consent, I imagine, is something the content owners will try to avoid. My prediction is that there will be an "application" you install in order to watch streamed content. You click an EULA button in the process of installing it. In doing so, you "agree" to become a peer in the content distribution network.

Of course, most people wouldn't read the EULA, or afterward understand why their network lights blink sometimes, and their disk spins occasionally.

Accelerating Returns (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801996)

I wouldn't worry about that.

The computer and computing industry isn't standing still. Processor and signal transmission speeds increase exponentially. There will be quite enough bandwidth and processing power for everybody.

Who are Grid Networks? (1)

rgoldste (213339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801997)

Cringely talked about a company called Grid Networks and their killer P2P app that may change TV distribution. They seem to have an interesting idea, but I wanted to look into it further. Owing to the genericness of their name, however, I haven't been able to devise a Google search that finds their website.

Does anybody have any info on Grid Networks, or are they vaporware?

Re:Who are Grid Networks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802011)

Ummm... htttp://www.gridnetworks.com/ ?

Re:Who are Grid Networks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802035)

http://www.gridnetworks.com/ [gridnetworks.com]

I KNOW it is against the slacker credo to actually read an article, but in the case of Cringley, he posts all his references sites under the tab titled "Links of the Week".

P2P is not "under control" (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802001)

And thus I don't really think they will switch to this model. Simply put: Their "servers" would not be under their control. If we were to provide them with "servers", we could at least partly control what is shown.

Of course we would not get a say what we distribute. But that's not the point. You cannot rely on a P2P Server to provide real time content. Suddenly it's gone, because I switch the box off. Even if you have a few fallback "servers" on the list it's nothing you can build a reliable service on. And people do get angry if their favorite soap suddenly skips right after the words "I kept silent 'til now, but now I have to say it. I am..."

Not to mention the danger of tampering with the content. Yes, they will encrypt it, yes, they will make it near impossible to inject anything, but there is still the danger that in the middle of a Disney Movie you suddenly get to see ... use your imagination.

Re:P2P is not "under control" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802069)

You mean you get to see something like... say if someone were to add the priest getting an erection in the wedding scene of Little Mermaid??? How is that any different from what they already relase?

Re:P2P is not "under control" (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802083)

The difference is that it wouldn't get an "E" rating that way.

Not that it would be too bad for some shows. Considering the quality of some TV shows anything injected would certainly provide a lot more entertainment.

Re:P2P is not "under control" (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802176)

... but there is still the danger that in the middle of a Disney Movie you suddenly get to see ... George Carlin!

"Fuck Mickey Mouse! Fuck him in the ass with a big rubber dick! And then break it off and beat him with it!"

Re:P2P is not "under control" (1)

Trillian_1138 (221423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802197)

And people do get angry if their favorite soap suddenly skips right after the words "I kept silent 'til now, but now I have to say it. I am..."


Yes? Yes? You are what? What are you? The suspense is killing me!!

Trillian

Re:P2P is not "under control" (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802295)

Not to mention the danger of tampering with the content. Yes, they will encrypt it, yes, they will make it near impossible to inject anything, but there is still the danger that in the middle of a Disney Movie you suddenly get to see ... use your imagination.

You're not kidding. Years ago I went searching for Finding Nemo on Kazaa (yes, it's a quaint story ;-), and found 7 other movies, one of which was a neat Swedish porn.

Now, if my kids had found that while innocently looking for Finding Nemo, I'd have to first ask "where'd you guys come from?" and second, I'd be upset to expose these young unknowns to such non-warlike images. However, the fact that I found it just reminds me of Woody Allen, who said in Annie Hall, "Hey, don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone I love!"

P2P sounds great but (1)

krisp (59093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802050)

they aren't paying for my cable modem, and my cable modem has a maximum upstream speed of about 45 kilobytes per second. That isn't going to help anyone really. Not to mention, I wouldn't be all that keen on maxing out my upstream just so I could watch American Idol.

Also, shouldn't they be paying ME to use MY bandwidth?

P2P TV and Movies should be FREE... (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802089)

A P2P Tv and movie network should be free to its viewers, as over the air television is. The reason being, that we all end up paying for the bandwidth. So i dont want just a one dollar discount on movies in exchange for my bandwidth, I instead want the product for free.

If you want me to watch your television, your commericials, while you profit in the millions of dollars AND use my bandwidth?!.... You're giving it to me free!

Game on, you DRM motherfuckers :) Citizens need to play hardball.

who in hollywood? (1)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802074)

companies like sony? oh, i trust them with media/content, fuck you very much ... no thanks, i'll pass

You know what else has overstayed its welcome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802104)

IT'S IS SHORT FOR IT IS FOR THE LOVE OF *FUCK* can it be that hard to get right?!?? Just say "it is" in the sentence. Does it make sense? NO? Then don't use it!

Hollywood-run p2p? Unlikely (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802119)

maybe the future holds P2P networks owned and managed by Hollywood?


That seems unlikely to me... people would have to be willing to trade away their spare bandwidth for... what, exactly? Being able to watch movies/TV on their computer? They can do that now if they want, without having to run any "industry-approved" p2p clients (and all that that implies).

Year's supply of Pauly Shore (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802344)

They'll give you all you can watch Pauly Shore movies!!!!

Oh. Wait....

Plenty of P2P CDN's (2, Informative)

ozzee (612196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802122)


Chaincast
NetCableTV
Red Swoosh
Kontiki

Just to name a few.

Some of these have been in production for many years. Chaincast is/was the leader in radio streaming (at one time).

There are more advantages with P2P streaming/downloads than meet the eye. You also get better sharing of data in the local network. i.e. you're at Starbucks, you see someone watching somthing you want too - start the download an you get it at full speed from one laptop directly to the next. Also, from an infrastructure pespective, it's automatically fault tolerant.

It's big.

the changing nature of content (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802138)

The way things are going, for the most part these "execs" won't have to worry about supplying millions of people with the same stream, because there will be too much competition. It has become much easier and cheaper to produce "content". Whereas in the past, for example, you might have had a "choice" of 4 networks on TV, and those few "execs" and shows, all very expensive to produce and broadcast, now you have a choice of hundreds of stations on cable or satellite, and soon, thousands or even millions on the net. Audience "viewership" numbers will fall for most programs, and rise for others, with the others being new and for the most part out of those 'concerned execs' hands or influence or "worry".

  "Consumers" aren't limited as much as they used to be, and those remaining limitations are dropping daily. A show in the near future might be extremely lucky to only have a thousand viewers (whatever, see "podcasts"), something that could be handled easily with todays "normal" streaming tech.

Re:the changing nature of content (EXAMPLE) (1)

rewinn (647614) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802158)

Here is an example of the correctness of your point.

You can invest 30 minutes of your time watching yet another forumlaic sitcom on cable or the web, with perhaps a 10% chance-per-minute of having a really good laugh; or you can spend the same time clicking around YouTube.

If only 25% of the amateur comedy on that site, and others like it, make you laugh heartily ... you'll end up with up to 7.5 times as many laughs!

(Thoughly bogus mathematics provided for illustrative purposes only!)

Congress should pass a multicast law (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802174)

If ISP's were required to enable multicast all the way to the home all these video delivery problems would be MUCH easier.

You want to see cable and DSL operators go nutz with foaming mouths, get your congressman to introduce a bill requiring multicast to be enabled on all routers and switches, and add a provision punishing ISP's who knowingly degrate UDP.

Many people think that multicast is a failure and does not work, fact of the matter is, it's deployed WORLD WIDE on the backbones of both Internet and Internet2. I can tell you from my own experience that it works as advertized (on I2)

Revenue Streams (4, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802191)

Cringeley doesn't mention Akamai. Where does this 150K max users figure come from? If "tens of thousands" of servers is only 10K servers, then 150K streams is only 15 streams:server.

But even a $2K P4/4.3GHz can serve over 1750 simultaneous 500Kbps video streams (from my own benchmarks), for 875Mbps. Since Gbps fiberoptics cost <$5000:mo, or under $3:stream:mo, 10K servers should serve at least 17 million simultaneous users; 58K servers serve over 100 million simultaneous streams.

Use more efficient servers, like SANs coupled more directly to routers, and you're talking about <$3:stream:mo for maybe 100K servers serving over 1 billion people, for a $100M investment that can be amortized over a few years. Years which can bring maybe $1-100:mo profit on 1-10 billion consumers, or 10-10,000x ROI.

Such a network is much more efficient and economical as P2P, or multicast. But even the raw numbers sound very profitable. That's why Akamai is making so much money, even though their market is still so small.

Re:Revenue Streams (0, Offtopic)

kb1ikn (866009) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802305)

The must be running NT or Slowaris.

Protocol choice for massive video streaming (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802219)

BitTorrent is peer to peer. Having said that, the BitTorrent as it stands, is drastically unsuitable for use in a streaming enviornment. It is designed to transfer files, not stream them in real time; we can start with the requirement that the server has the entire file to generate the .torrent file from (try that on a live video stream, for example), and continue with the lack of an guaranteed arrival order or time. Oh, and that .torrent file - still going to be hard for a few million users to grab at once.

A BitTorrent-like protocol could be used, something that sends the stream meta data as signed packets along with the stream itself, although actually ensuring in-order and on-time delivery is still going to be a massive headache. There are all sorts of interesting and complex trips that could be used, mostly focusing on a BitTorrent-like protocol to allow trivial proxying (so an ISP could buy a few computers, hook them up to their network, subscribe to the most popular streams, and their subscribers would automatically find and use them, as they would have high bandwidth to them).

Someone want to remind me what was wrong with multicast, though?

hits (1)

kb1ikn (866009) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802286)

Just gotta warm up the OC-3072 or get Hitachi to cram more lambdas into a single fiber.

P2P Video Broadcasting already exist (1)

smlnjoe (54216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802368)

P2P video distribution is already here.

http://www.nft-tv.com/ [nft-tv.com]

They are already up and running.
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