Distributed Caching Protocols for Relieving Hot Spots on the World Wide Web

We describe a family of caching protocols for distributed networks that can be used to decrease or eliminate the occurrence of hot spots
in the network. Our protocols are particularly designed for use with very large networks such as the Internet, where delays caused by
hot spots can be severe, and where it is not feasible for every server to have complete information about the current state of the entire network. The protocols are easy to implement using existing network protocols such as TCP/IP, and require very little overhead.
The protocols work with local control, make efficient use of existing resources, and scale gracefully as the network grows.
Our caching protocols are based on a special kind of hashing that we call consistent hashing. Roughly speaking, a consistent
hash function is one which changes minimally as the range of the function changes. Through the development of good consistent
hash functions, we are able to develop caching protocols which do not require users to have a current or even consistent view of the
network. We believe that consistent hash functions may eventually prove to be useful in other applications such as distributed name servers and/or quorum systems.


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