Skype says “I’m Back”

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But unlike the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, I can’t “get up offa that thing and dance ’til you feel better.” Not after 48 Skypeless hours. I still want an explanation of what happened. Skype says they won’t have a straight story until Monday.

In the meantime, among all of the pissing and moaning, one comment by Julian Cain of Pando provides more insight than any of Skype’s attempts to tell users what’s going on. Julian’s comment on GigaOM nails the problem with Skype’s data hash tables (DHT):

Skype introduced a flaw into the network that dealt with “routing” and “fucked” the “decentralized data store aka DHT” this in turn ran clients on a RANDOM search of Supernodes which at this point were well booted off of the network.

It is a huge cycle, no matter how many bugs they “fix” in the “central servers” it will take many days for N nodes to become Supernodes so they can route X data from peer A to peer B. This is NOT minor, a fix to the centralized server code base to relay data to N Supernodes there is lack there of, resulting of a very segregate network. Right now there are approximatly 10,000 sub Skype networks instead of 1 Single “in sync” network. When this “data store(see DHT) is in sync globally then the Skype network will be again STABLE.

I know this is very broad but, unless magically all of said nodes can recreate the “single overlay (DHT)” then nothing will be in sync. You will see delayed messaged, delayed or incorrect profiles and presence.

My take, in the end is give it 48 more hours and it may be semi-stable, but hey this is what you get with using end users as your own redundancy…

The fallout from Skype’s outage episode is likely bring closer scrutiny to many peer to peer architectures that we’ve grown to enjoy. In that sense I owe an apology to Skype for my earlier post about rolling back servers to a previous build. True peer to peer does not have servers in the client-server sense of the word.

Does Skype’s outage call P2P architectures into question? If you need the security of redundancy and failover, P2P is not your best bet. My argument is that if VOIP phone service is going to be competitive, they must address the issue of rapid failure recovery. I just don’t think that’s possible in the P2P world, is it?

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