What We're Learning From Gnutella

Kelly Truelove, Founder & CEO, Truelove Research

Track: Technical Track
Date: Friday, February 16
Time: 10:45am - 11:15am
Location: Georgian Room

With tens of thousands of users employing a heterogeneous set of inter-communicating applications to generate millions of network messages per day, the Gnutella network is a remarkable case study in fully decentralized peer-to-peer networked applications. From extensive measurements of this open network taken over a period of many months, Clip2 Distributed Search Solutions has gained a detailed understanding of its technical issues. Out of this understanding, we present "Lessons from Gnutella" broadly relevant to other peer-to-peer systems. We discuss in detail a key lesson, the need for node connectivity rules that allocate network participation burden according to node capabilities. Drawing upon the working example of the Clip2 Reflector application, we introduce the concept of "super-peers" and review the case for hybridization of the pure and brokered peer-to-peer models. Lessons are illustrated with historical data from the Gnutella network, including a vivid characterization of the fragmentation of the Gnutella network observed in August 2000 when average network traffic began to regularly exceed dial-up modem capacity.