[Napster FAQ] Look how much trouble Napster has scaling...

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From: Adam Rifkin -4K (adam@XeNT.ics.uci.edu)
Date: Sat Aug 05 2000 - 00:49:06 PDT

Rohit and I noticed this little tidbit from the Napster FAQ...

> Q: Why does someone who I know is online appear to be "offline"?
> A: While there are numerous Napster servers, currently they are not linked
> to one another. Therefore, if user X in on one server, and user Y is on
> any other server, User X cannot see, chat with, or share files with User
> Y. This is not the permanent state of the servers; we're going to be
> implementing some significant changes in our service architecture in the
> very near future that will address this and other issues. In the mean
> time, we appreciate your patience and support.

Divide and conquer isn't the best distributed computing algorithm when
the *community* is important to you. Imagine an instant messaging
system where you can't chat with most of your buddies because the
fricking server farm can only support 5000 simultaneous connections.
If AOL's server farm were this flawed, you would have a 1 in 1000 chance
of seeing any of your given buddies online. Unacceptable.

Dave, can you put us in touch with these guys? We can show them how to
scale... :)


The entire industry, let's see... 50,000 CDs/year times 100MB (max) to encode each CD in mp3 at 192 kbps is 5 Terabytes/year total output from the music industry. Which is 100 fifty Gig hard drives. I can get 75GB ultra-perf deskstars from IBM -- three and a half inches so you can stack em up -- for $925 apiece. THAT is quite literally the $64,000 question facing the music industry: For the salary of a mailroom clerk (and benefits), an entire year's worth of recorded music could be put online in random access form.

For less than the cost of a Superbowl ad you could store every song ever recorded on magnetic media! And by 2003, it will be $1.15/GB according to PC World -- that's 11 cents to store an entire album at better-than-FM-radio quality. An LA radio station's ANNUAL output, including commercials, could be archived for $1000 today.

My God, Napster has a business model! ASCAP and BMI licenses at *retail*... and if MP3.Com's smart enough to keep brokering the deals and kiss the butts enough to stay in the game as Napster goes down with their legal Titanic, MP3 might finally be in the market to buy a scalable, customizable peer community platform for personal radio stations. -- Rohit Khare

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