Distributed Computing and P2P Business Model

    While reading a wiki page about LHC some time ago, I joyfully discovered that CERN had opened its distributed computing project. It’s joyful - because the work of the collider has been inspiring me for a long time, and the possibility of at least somehow helping them filled me with stern optimism. I don’t know why, but to some extent I naively hope that the result of the project will make our life much better.

    Once, my former colleague told me about the SETI @ home project - and therefore, I was familiar with the general mechanism of the distributed computing process as a whole. I somehow didn’t really believe in the future of the SETI project, so I didn’t connect to the process. With LHC, of ​​course, everything turned out differently: BOINC instantly found himself on a computer and, as a pioneer, humbly prepared to take part in unraveling the structure of the universe. But, to my deep disappointment, there were no and no tasks for the calculation.

    So that enthusiasm does not run out, I added a couple of projects to combat various diseases, turned the manager down and began to read all kinds of articles about distributed computing. At the same time, the thought flickered in my head about how much this looks like p2p. And here I had an idea, which I would like to share, or rather, find out your professional opinion about the possibility / impossibility of its appearance in life, and possibly about the existence of realizations and their successes / failures.

    This idea consists of the following business model: there is a) a customer who needs either a kind of file storage with a wide distribution channel, or some computing power, or both in combination b) a crowd of customers with their idle home / work / mobile computers on which a quietly running background client is installed in a strictly defined framework of withdrawn resources c) an intermediary who organizes the work of the first with the second. The customer pays a certain amount of money for services: 100% for a certain volume of services (storage or settlement), the intermediary takes 5% of them for food, bread and the organization of the process, and distributes the remaining 95% to those clients who directly perform the task: file distribution and / or calculation.

    It is important to note here that file storage does not mean, say, storing a database file. Of course, the reaction rate of such a base would be unacceptable. We are talking, say, about the storage of legal software online store (Steam, AppStore, OviStore). Or storing backups of large services. Or video hosting. Those. in file storage, high upload speed (plus reliability of storage) is important, not ping of data return.

    Calculations can come in handy in a variety of areas (although there is a problem of converting data into a suitable format, but it seems to me that it can be solved on the whole). For example, the Avatar movie was rendered on a cluster, but it could have been processed by such a network and perhaps it would have come out much faster and cheaper.

    In principle, everyone will be satisfied: the customer from the price of the issue, and the intermediary and customers from some earnings. Plus, this is a huge impetus for the market, which will have the opportunity to use relatively inexpensive, but extremely powerful resources for computing and high-speed storage. It may not all be wrapped up right away, but potentially - it can grow into a large-scale network: any file from the Internet will download very quickly, but for its own penny from other users, and such a system can theoretically balance itself - how much I download, how much I distribute, with at what speed I download, with such and distribute, otherwise I either earn or spend.

    I understand that a sea of ​​questions arises. For example, the question of the legality of stored files - but here you can apply the same schemes as when stored on file storages. The main thing is to make sure that the data is encrypted and it is impossible a) to steal other people's data (use partitioning, certificates, keys) b) the customer or intermediary could always delete or lock files (say, through certain revision files distributed with pieces of files) .

    The issue of large capacities in bad hands can be offset by the degree of verification depending on what is required. If someone requires enough power to refactor keys, he must somehow justify his calculation (at least be identified as a company with some minimum requirements). In any case, there are already millions of zombie computers in the world that probably already carry out similar tasks in the hands of hackers, and if there were a similar global danger, it would already “explode”. With a distributed network, you could provide similar power, but for useful business tasks.

    The question also arises: is it worth it - isn’t it easier to build an additional powerful data center? But he will demand: cost of carriers, cost of rent, remuneration of employees, cost of electricity, cost of the channel. Plus depreciation: physical equipment needs to be updated periodically, while users update their computers themselves and there is no need to pay for it. Plus reliability: the data center can burn out, and the distributed network will survive. Scalability: today you need 50% of the data center capacity, tomorrow 100%, the day after tomorrow 150%, and after-after tomorrow - again 50%. Rent, pay, etc. - all these are static amounts that can easily turn into losses. A network of users will be much more flexible in responding to the market according to the classical scheme of supply and demand (I don’t have enough money at 50 rubles a month - I won’t participate and leave, the rest will begin to receive 51r. per month, and vice versa).

    Will such participation be economically interesting for clients? You can try to figure it out: my home computer can give 10GB per day without problems without interfering with my work, which means it is about 300GB per month. At the same time, in order to quickly download the file I need in 10GB sizes, I, in principle, am ready to pay 50 rubles. and, it seems to me, I'm not the only one (otherwise there would be no “vip” access on file hosting). Those. in case of full workload it is about 1500r. (minus 5% to the intermediary) per month - in six months or a year both the channel and the new screw will pay off. In case the network does not need 300GB per month - I will give only, say, 10GB and earn 50 rubles. - even such a tiny amount will be nice for, by and large, the minimum costs of the channel and electricity, while my computer is still turned on and working.

    At the same time, something tells me that if such a business model had the right to exist, it would already exist. What prevents her from being born?

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