Network Coordinates in the Wild

Network coordinates provide a mechanism for selecting and placing servers efficiently in a large distributed system. This approach works well as long as the coordinates continue to accurately reflect network topology. We conducted a long-term study of a subset of a million-plus node coordinate system and found that it exhibited some of the problems for which network coordinates are frequently criticized, for example, inaccuracy and fragility in the presence of violations of the triangle inequality. Fortunately, we show that several simple techniques remedy many of these problems. Using the Azureus BitTorrent network as our testbed, we show that live, large-scale network coordinate systems behave differently than their tame PlanetLab and simulation-based counterparts. We find higher relative errors, more triangle inequality violations, and higher churn. We present and evaluate a number of techniques that, when applied to Azureus, efficiently produce accurate and stable network coordinates.

Jonathan Ledlie 2007-02-23