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Yatin Chawathe

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Abstract:
A Case Study in Building Layered DHT Applications

Yatin Chawathe, Sriram Ramabhadran, Sylvia Ratnasamy, Anthony LaMarca, Joseph Hellerstein, and Scott Shenker

Recent research has convincingly demonstrated that one can use Distributed Hash Tables (DHTs) to build scalable, robust and efficient applications. One question that is often left unanswered is that of simplicity of implementation and deployment. In this paper, we explore a case study of building an application where concerns of ease of deployment dominated the need for high performance. The application we focus on is Place Lab, an end-user positioning system. We evaluate whether it is feasible to use DHTs as an application-independent building block to implement a key component of Place Lab: its "mapping infrastructure." By strictly layering the application on top of a generic DHT service, we were able to decouple the deployment and management of Place Lab from that of the underlying DHT. In the paper, we demonstrate the flexibility of narrowly defined and application-independent DHT APIs to support this application. We identify the characteristics of the Place Lab application that made it amenable for deploying in this layered manner and comment on its effect on performance.


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