A couple of days back, New York Times had a story on a recent research paper that was presented at Usenix Workshop on Hot Topics in Cloud Computing. The idea is to spin a cloud using servers placed inside the homes and use the heat generated by these servers to heat the homes. In the paper, the authors point out an earlier study that suggested the use of home routers as Nano Data Centers (NaDa) for content caching.
As stated in the NaDa paper: “The key idea behind NaDa is to create a distributed service platform based on tiny managed “servers” located at the edges of the network. In NaDa, both the nano servers and access bandwidth to those servers are controlled and managed by a single entity (typically an ISP).” It goes on to suggest that, “Signiﬁcant opportunities already exist for hosting such tiny servers on ISP owned devices like Triple-Play gateways and DSL/cable modems that sit behind standard broadband accesses. Such gateways form the core of the NaDa platform and, in theory, can host many of the Internet services currently hosted in the data centers.” This has been the exact guiding philosophy as we developed EnThinnai where the candidate service is Social Sharing that provides consumer-friendly alternative to public social networks.
I think Social Sharing service based on NaDa is a better alternative than the content caching and distribution service that explored in the paper. Users may perceive that Content Cachnig and Distribution service really benefits the ISP and so may be reluctant to share their resources to offer service to others. Additionally, these gateways and modems require storage capability that may not be available readily. Social Sharing service on the other hand is directly beneficial to the hosting user and they will be willing to supply storage devices to store their content. More importantly, users will be assured that their content is at all times in their possession and privacy is assured. ISPs will be able to position this in positive light compare to privacy issues that plague public social networks.
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