Amazon, P2P and non-centralised infrastructure

With the shocking realisation that terms-of-service get-out clauses probably mean that service level agreements for most cloud and web services are worthless, one option that needs urgent exploration is the use of non-centralised distributed software for common infrastructure needs. While we associate the term "peer-to-peer" mainly with file transfer systems like BitTorrent, the idea of federated peer systems is more widely applicable. Indeed, the authors of Kazaa went on to use their federated ideas to create Skype, and more recently one of the creators of The Pirate Bay has proposed a peer-to-peer DNS - already a federated system but dependent on a small number of root servers. The P2P DNS proposal involves federated rather than centralised authority; time will tell if it can be made to work.

So is non-centralised infrastructure feasible? To date, the need to architect non-centralised systems for business has not been pressing, but it seems entirely possible that enterprise-strength solutions could start to emerge. Here are some sample non-centralised/federated/peer-to-peer infrastructure applications:

One of the supposed strengths of centralised systems is that there is a single entity with which to establish trust. By contrast, the lack of a trusted party in non-centralised systems means trust must instead be placed in the algorithm behind the system. Key trust indicators include the software being open source from an open-by-rule community, the use of openly-evolved open standards, the use of strong encryption using open and mature algorithms, the use of distributed data stores, and the use of proof-of-work systems to deter gaming.

Is this the future of infrastructure networking? Are there important projects missing from the list above? I'm keen to know.


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