Bounded-latency content distribution: Feasibility and evaluation

Chengdu Huang, Tarek Abdelzaher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper investigates the performance of a content distribution network designed to provide bounded content access latency. Content can be divided into multiple classes with different configurable per-class delay bounds. The network uses a simple distributed algorithm to dynamically select subsets of its proxy servers for different classes such that a global per-class delay bound is achieved on content access. The content distribution algorithm is implemented and tested on PlanetLab [25], a world-wide distributed Internet testbed. Evaluation results demonstrate that, despite Internet delay variability, subsecond delay bounds (of 200-500ms) can be guaranteed with a very high probability at only a moderate content replication cost. The distribution algorithm achieves a four to five-fold reduction in the number of response-time violations compared to prior content distribution approaches that attempt to minimize average latency. To the authors' knowledge, this paper presents the first wide-area performance evaluation of an algorithm designed to bound maximum content access latency, as opposed to optimizing an average performance metric.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1422-1437
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computers
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Content distribution networks
  • Distributed systems
  • Performance evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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