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Peer to Peer . David Strom, PC Expo/ eBiz presentations June 2001. Summary. What is P2P? Learning from Napster, Groove Business models Motivations for using P2P Technology examples Corporate strategies. What is P2P?.

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Peer to peer l.jpg

Peer to Peer

David Strom,

PC Expo/ eBiz presentations

June 2001

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

Summary l.jpg

  • What is P2P?

  • Learning from Napster, Groove

  • Business models

  • Motivations for using P2P

  • Technology examples

  • Corporate strategies

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

What is p2p l.jpg
What is P2P?

  • Sharing computing resources, such as files, CPU cycles, and applications

  • Apps are both server and client on a distributed network

  • Makes some use of Internet protocols/standards

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Examples of P2P technologies

  • Simplest example is Windows/Mac built-in file sharing: remember WfW?

  • Napster/Gnutella/Aimster/etc.

  • Chat products like ICQ, AIM, Bantu, OMNI, etc.

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Other examples

  • Seti@Home (search for ET)

  • (distributed science)

  • McAfee ASAP (anti-virus protection)

  • Lightshare (desktop auctions)

  • Groove Networks (P2P Notes)

  • Uroam (remote access)

  • Roku, VxPort (file sharing)

  • OpenCola (info collection)

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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How does P2P leverage the existing Internet infrastructure?

  • Builds on ftp, http, etc. so can pass information freely through routers and firewalls

  • Doesn’t require new domain name services or other authentication processes

  • May make use of email and chat protocols as well

  • No specialized knowledge to setup new servers and services

  • No network administrators and other IT resources involved

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

What is napster l.jpg
What is Napster?

  • Easy to share digital music files

  • Uses http and ftp protocols

  • Each user's PC acts as client and server

  • It creates a community of users with common goals and interests

  • It builds upon P2P services to increase the overall value of the system

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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How did we obtain music before?

  • Go to record store

  • Deal with surly underaged clerks

  • Try to find the right CD

  • Take it home, play on our stereos

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Enter MP3 downloads

  • Locate an ftp server with music on it

  • Try to connect to the server (often busy)

  • Upload a few songs first

  • Then hopefully find the right song and download it

  • And much more work to host your own music ftp server!

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Problems with the old method

  • ftp sites often busy

  • Had to learn the ins and outs of ftp client software

  • Uploading requirement was onerous

  • Search tools crude, could often only find ftp sites, not songs

  • Setting up servers painful too.

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Shirky’s list of lessons learned from Napster

  • Centralize what you need to make your business model work

  • A poor user interface isn’t an issue, especially if people can still get things done

  • It routes around network admins/firewalls

  • It allows people to create their own namespaces without specialized knowledge

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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How do you share info now?

  • Mydocsonline or similar “Internet hard disk”

  • PGP secure email, maybe

  • Yahoo Calendars or similar


  • Maybe even a web-based Office suite like TeamOn, FreeDesk or Blox

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

Problems l.jpg

  • Motley collection difficult to manage

  • Not everyone is willing to work with multiple tools

  • Authentication is difficult – multiple logins

  • Still need to download lots of software, despite “100 % browser” emphasis

  • Tiresome email exchanges of documents

  • Security by obscurity

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Enter Groove Networks

  • Authentication is always on

  • Different workspaces for different collections of people

  • Setup is easy

  • No browser, email file swapping needed

  • Supports a wide variety of tools and information sharing models

  • Great for sharing files between home and work PCs

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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How distributed does your network have to be?

  • Napster: central server to authenticate and track users

  • Gnutella: everything is distributed

  • Aimster: uses AOL IM directory to authenticate/track users

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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What business models make sense?

  • Advertising

  • User charges

  • Corporate site licenses

  • Core technology licenses

  • ISP/ASP volume purchases

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Dale Dougherty’s thoughts on business models

“All the P2P players are hoping that their research leads them to establish a new way of doing things. At that point, the winner will be obvious and the business model will be crystal clear.”

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Signs that P2p is maturing

  • Porn industry file swapping services (PornDigger,

  • Already seeing downside articles in the press

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Motivations for implementing P2P

  • Add intelligence to network edge devices

  • Convenience and control

  • Altruism

  • Free up bandwidth

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Motivations: the network edge

  • Right now network edge devices are underused or dumb when it comes to working with the network fabric itself

  • P2P adds intelligence, increased utilization at the edge

  • Makes it easier for people to get more work done, just like c. 1981 PCs

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Controlling your own network destiny

  • Ask your IT department for the capability to have real-time conversations with Internet users directly from your PC, that you wanted this set up within the hour, and that you had no budget for it.

  • Now imagine being laughed out of the room. (from Shirky)

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Advantages of ICQ

  • No need for setting up IP addresses, DNS configuration, firewall rules, web server hosting co-location agreements, IT policy pronouncements, lengthy approvals up the IT command structure, IT R&D review, IT rollouts, …

  • Do you detect a pattern here?

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Motivations: convenience and control

  • Stress-testing web sites over the Internet, from Exodus/United Devices

  • Shared-processing model frees up resources in their test lab for other projects, also provides more realism for test scenarios

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Motivations: altruism

“My goal was to harness wasted CPU cycles that to me were just warming the air. I also liked the fact that I would be participating in an interesting community and doing some good science." -- SETI user

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Motivations: bandwidth

  • McAfee ASAP uses P2P to download virus pattern files from local users, saving on wide-area connections

  • The more you distribute the network, the less bandwidth you need from any centralized locations

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Drawbacks to P2P

  • Security loopholes

  • Loss of control over desktop activities

  • Some companies don’t like to share and play with others

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Corporate strategies

  • Download and try Napster or uRoam

  • Compare with downloading music or PC/Anywhere for functionality

  • Examine your own programs for file transfer components that could benefit from peering

  • Examine whether you can benefit from shared processing models

  • Setup a trial Groove workgroup and project team

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001

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Places for more information

  • O’Reilly P2P conference:

  • My review of Groove:

(c) David Strom Inc. 2001