P2P Networks are as old as the Internet itself (D. Milojicic). The original design of the Internet was centered on a Peer-to-Peer system. ARPANET connected its first few hosts as computing peers with equal status and not in a master/slave or client/server relationship…
The latest applications such as Napster, Gnutella, iMesh, Audiogalaxy Satellite, and KaZaA has led to the reemergence of the P2P networks and since then P2P networks have been the centerpieces of intellectual property lawsuits, especially those involving illegally downloaded music. But P2P is about much more than violating the copyright of record labels. Many in the industry consider the Peer-to-Peer network as an emerging paradigm shift, which could revolutionize the IT industry by offering better - Performance and Price/performance, Scalability, Fault Tolerance and Deployment Flexibility. Peer-to-Peer networks are transient Internet networks that allow computer users to connect with each other and use sophisticated searching techniques to directly access and download files from one another's hard drives. The peers communicate directly among themselves and can assume a role of provider, a consumer or a registrar depending upon what is most efficient for the network.
Distributed network architecture may be called a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network, if the participants share a part of their own hardware resources (processing power, storage capacity, network link capacity, printers,). These shared resources are necessary to provide the Service and content offered by the network (e.g. file sharing or shared workspaces for collaboration). They are accessible by other peers directly, without passing intermediary entities. The participants of such a network are thus resource (Service and content) providers as well as resource (Service and content) requestors (Servant-concept).
The Peer-to-Peer networks are further divided into two types:
Hybrid Peer-to-Peer networks, which allows the existence of central entities in its network.
Pure Peer-to-Peer networks within which Servants are the only entities allowed.
More precisely, peers cooperate (by sharing resources such as storage, CPU cycles, network bandwidth, and data) to achieve desired services (distributed computing, file-sharing, distributed storage, communication, or real-time media streaming) because there is no centralized entity to control, organize, administer, or maintain the entire system (Mohamed Hefeeda). With P2P, we can leverage the ever-increasing processing and storage power on the less-predictable and more widely distributed network.
Apart from the file sharing we can develop numerous business applications using P2P technology. These applications may range from collaborative commerce to knowledge management. With edge services it can help business houses to deliver services and capabilities more efficiently and across the diverse geographic boundaries. Using a network of computers or Distributed computing, P2P technology can use idle CPU MIPS and disk space, allowing businesses to distribute large computational jobs across multiple computers. Peer to peer computing also allows computing networks to dynamically work together using intelligent agents.
As the File-sharing across P2P networks is unregulated, the files that claim to be music or movies may actually contain any number of other types of content. Consequently, P2P also raises some security concerns for users and accountability concerns for IT. Skeptics ...
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