The Gluster Blog

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Why I expect Tent, or any other distributed network protocol, will eventually fail


Back at the end of 2003 I was toying with Gnutella’s distributed peer-to-peer network and wanted to host a peer lookup server myself. I tried several cache servers but most of them didn’t support the newer protocol and would frequently fail. I wrote my own. It worked very well and was quickly becoming the most popular of it’s kind until some commercial software developers wrote horrible client software to make use of the network.

These poorly written clients had no sanity checks to ensure that they didn’t spam the network and they quickly began overloading every cache server. With loads and bandwidth limits being exceeded, shared hosting providers started killing cache servers. People that were running servers on their own hosts stopped. The network fell apart. Still, even after the caches expired the removed servers, these poorly written clients continued to hammer domains. People actually abandoned their domain names just to get away from the spam.

I still have several hundred requests for my cache that hasn’t been running since mid 2004.

That’s what I would be afraid of happinging with Tent. If it becomes popular enough, the network loads may exceed the user’s willingness to participate. That would seem to doom any peer distributed networking protocol.

If you do choose to participate, I would suggest using a throw-away domain and using Tor so that if you do choose to cease participating you can get away cleanly.


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