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Second Workshop on Real, Large Distributed Systems—Preliminary Abstract

Pp. 31–36 of the Proceedings

(Re)Design Considerations for Scalable Large-File Content Distribution

Brian Biskeborn, Princeton University; Michael Golightly, University of California, Irvine; KyoungSoo Park and Vivek S. Pai, Princeton University


The CoBlitz system was designed to provide efficient large file transfer in a managed infrastructure environment. It uses a content distribution network (CDN) coupled with a swarm-style chunk distribution system to reduce the bandwidth required at origin servers. With 6 months of operation, we have been able to observe its behavior in typical usage, and glean information on how it could be redesigned to better suit its target audience. At its heart, this paper describes what happens when a plausible conceptual design meets the harsh realities of life on the Internet. We describe our experiences improving CoBlitz's performance via a range of techniques, including measurement-based feedback, heuristic changes, and new algorithms. In the process, we triple CoBlitz's performance, and we reduce the load it places on origin servers by a factor of five. In addition to improving performance for CoBlitz's users, we believe that our experiences will also be beneficial to other researchers working on large-file transfer and content distribution networks.
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