Friday, August 17, 2007

Skype outage overkill

The recent Skype outage experienced by some of its users (count me out) drew a lot of flak at least in the blogosphere. Some were quick to question the scalability and robustness of a P2P network, even warning VCs to rethink their P2P investment plans owing to its fragility. Others were conciliatory; the buck stopping at authentication servers, since the outage didn’t affect those who were already logged in.

Ethan Kaplan gave it back to them all so sweetly. He bristled at all those who wanted P2P dead – “Are these people for real? P2P is inherently a scale-free network, which, if designed properly is logically immune from disruptions because of its own inherent complexity. The only danger to P2P is when it exists as a derivation of a process that is not inherently complex. Meaning: an airplane is a complex system, but such a system is dependent on lift overcoming drag and gravity. When lift no longer overcomes drag and gravity (i.e. engine failure, wing popping off), the complex system collapses.” That was smart and in-the-face to those (knee) jerks…

I am yet to find one other new age application that ported so much utility for so less. I love Skype for the way it revolutionized cross border communication, drove down communication costs and knocked the hell out of carriers that plundered subscribers all these years. When they let me make an overseas call at $0.08 per minute (only the bandwidth cost) to the peers in my network, I don’t even mind a few outages a month. Now this is just once in a couple of years….and that’s terrific, not just par for the course. What the hell, it’s a far better record than the call drops that I experience over my mobile network that charges me $0.17 per minute for a US call… I don’t think even a leased line direct link is free from occasional snaps.

Keep going, Skype… We love you…!
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2 Comments:

Blogger vinnie said...

17c? try 2.29 a minute on AT&T for a call back to US...

we have created a culture where the freer web services we are mericless on, and vendors which are gouging, just seem to slink under the radar

1:49 AM  
Blogger Krish said...

In India, my telco is HUTCH... Competition doesn't let them charge more than $0.17 a minute. Thank God, AT&T relationship with TATA didn't sail through.

Can't agree more on the second part of the comment.

2:22 AM  

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