A Longitudinal Characterization of Local and Global BitTorrent Workload Dynamics

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Workload characterization is important for understanding how systems and services are used in practice and to help identify design improvements. To better understand the longitudinal workload dynamics of chunk-based content delivery systems, this paper analyzes the BitTorrent usage as observed from two different vantage points. Using two simultaneously collected 48-week long traces, we analyze the differences in download characteristics and popularity dynamics observed locally at a university campus versus at a global scale. We find that campus users typically download larger files and are early adopters of new content, in the sense that they typically download files well before the time at which the global popularity of the files peak. The noticeable exception is music files, which the campus users are late to download. We also find that there typically is high churn in the set of files that are popular each week, both locally and globally, and that the most popular files peak significantly later than their release date. These findings provide insights that may improve the efficiency of content sharing locally, and thus increase the scalability of the global system.