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Peer-to-peer distributed hash tables (DHTs) have recently emerged as a building-block for distributed applications. Unstructured DHTs, such as Freenet and the Gnutella network [1,5], offer decentralization and simplicity of system construction, but may take up to O(N) hops to perform lookups in networks of N nodes. Structured DHTs, such as Chord, Pastry, Tapestry and others [14,17,18,21,22,24,28], are particularly well-suited for large scale distributed applications because they are self-organizing, resilient against denial-of-service attacks, and can provide O(log N) lookup performance. However, for large-scale, high-performance, latency-sensitive applications, such as the domain name service (DNS) and the world wide web, this logarithmic performance bound translates into high latencies. Previous work on serving DNS using a peer-to-peer lookup service concluded that, despite their desirable properties, structured DHTs are unsuitable for latency-sensitive applications due to their high lookup costs [8].

In this paper, we describe how proactive replication can be used to achieve constant lookup performance efficiently on top of a standard O(log N) peer-to-peer distributed hash table for certain commonly-encountered query distributions. It is well-known that the query distributions of several popular applications, including DNS and the web, follow a power law distribution [2,15]. Such a well-characterized query distribution presents an opportunity to optimize the system according to the expected query stream. The critical insight in this paper is that, for query distributions based on a power law, proactive (model-driven) replication can enable a DHT system to achieve a small constant lookup latency on average. In contrast, we show that common techniques for passive (demand-driven) replication, such as caching objects along a lookup path, fail to make a significant impact on the average-case behavior of the system.

We outline the design of a replication framework, called Beehive, with the following goals:

Beehive achieves these goals through efficient proactive replication. By proactive replication, we mean actively propagating copies of objects among the nodes participating in the network. There is a fundamental tradeoff between replication and resource consumption: more copies of an object will generally improve lookup performance at the cost of space, bandwidth and aggregate network load.

Beehive performs this tradeoff through an informed analytical model. This model provides a closed-form, optimal solution that guarantees O(1), constant-time lookup performance with the minimum number of object replicas. The particular constant C targeted by the system is tunable. Beehive enables the system designer to specify a fractional value. Setting C to a fractional value, such as 0.5, ensures that 50% of queries will be satisfied at the source, without any additional network hops. Consequently, Beehive implements a sub-one hop hash-table. The value of C can be adjusted dynamically to meet real-time performance goals.

Beehive uses the minimal number of replicas required to achieve a targeted performance level. Minimizing replicas reduces storage requirements at the peers, lowers bandwidth consumption and load in the network, and enables cache-coherent updates to be performed efficiently. Beehive uses low-overhead protocols for tracking, propagating and updating replicas. Finally, Beehive leverages the structure of the underlying DHT to update objects efficiently at runtime, and guarantees that subsequent lookups will return the latest copy of the object.

While this paper describes the Beehive proactive replication framework in its general form, we use the domain name system as a driving application. Several shortcomings of the current, hierarchical structure of DNS makes it an ideal application candidate for Beehive. First, DNS is highly latency-sensitive, and poses a significant challenge to serve efficiently. Second, the hierarchical organization of DNS leads to a disproportionate amount of load being placed at the higher levels of the hierarchy. Third, the higher nodes in the DNS hierarchy serve as easy targets for distributed denial-of-service attacks and form a security vulnerability for the entire system. Finally, nameservers required for the internal leaves of the DNS hierarchy incur expensive administrative costs, as they need to be manually administered and secured. Peer-to-peer DHTs address all but the first critical problem; we show in this paper that Beehive's replication strategy can address the first.

We have implemented a prototype Beehive-based DNS server on Pastry [22]. We envision that the DNS nameservers that are currently used to serve small, dedicated portions of the naming hierarchy would form a Beehive network and collectively serve the namespace. While we use DNS as a guiding application and demonstrate that serving DNS with DHT is feasible, we note that a full treatment of the implementation of an alternative peer-to-peer DNS system is beyond the scope of this paper, and focus instead on the general-purpose Beehive framework for proactive replication. The framework is sufficiently general to achieve O(1) lookup performance in other settings, including web caching, where the query distribution follows a power law.

Overall, this paper describes the design of a replication framework that enables constant lookup performance in structured DHTs for common query distributions, applies it to a P2P DNS implementation, and makes the following contributions. First, it proposes proactive replication of objects and provides a closed-form analytical solution for the optimal number of replicas needed to achieve O(1) lookup performance. The storage, bandwidth and load placed on the network by this scheme are modest. In contrast, we show that simple caching strategies based on passive replication incur large ongoing costs. Second, it outlines the design of a complete system based around this analytical model. This system is layered on top of Pastry, an existing peer-to-peer substrate. It includes techniques for estimating the requisite inputs for the analytical model, mechanisms for replica distribution and deletion, and fast update propagation. Finally, it presents results from a prototype implementation of a peer-to-peer DNS service to show that the system achieves good performance, has low overhead, and can adapt quickly to flash crowds. In turn, these approaches enable the benefits of P2P systems, such as self-organization and resilience against denial of service attacks, to be applied to latency-sensitive applications.

The rest of this paper is organized as follows. Section 2 provides a broad overview of our approach and describes the storage and bandwidth-efficient replication components of Beehive in detail. Section 3 describes our implementation of Beehive over Pastry. Section 4 presents the results and expected benefits of using Beehive to serve DNS queries. Section 5 surveys different DHT systems and summarizes other approaches to caching and replication in peer-to-peer systems Section 6 describes future work and Section 7 summarizes our contributions.

next up previous
Next: The Beehive System Up: Beehive: O(1) Lookup Performance Previous: Beehive: O(1) Lookup Performance 2004-02-11