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Video services

CacheLogic Builds P2P Content Network

Caching technology specialist CacheLogic is making an ambitious bid to position itself as a video distribution player for content owners and service providers alike by partnering with peer-to-peer (P2P) firm BitTorrent Inc. and building a global network of content storage points. (See CacheLogic Unveils VelociX and CacheLogic, BitTorrent Team.)

Cachelogic has always approached P2P differently than other companies. While rivals built systems that could identify and block P2P traffic, helping network operators reduce network congestion, CacheLogic developed technology that could store the P2P files and so make them more easily and readily available to end users. (See Caching In on P2P.)

Now the company is using that approach to help content owners and service providers distribute paid-for content to broadband customers.

Cachelogic has developed what it calls VelociX, a media delivery platform that combines P2P technology with a global network of content caches built using the vendor's P2P Management Solution. (See CacheLogic Upgrades P2P .)

These caches are managed by a distribution control technology, developed with BitTorrent, called Cache Discovery Protocol (CDP), an open standards-based protocol that enables P2P clients to locate the nearest VelociX cache.

From these caches, large media files -- such as movies, TV programs, and games -- can be downloaded over a broadband connection in minutes instead of hours using P2P clients from BitTorrent, RawFlow , and others, claims Cachelogic.

The company's CTO Andrew Parker says P2P, long associated in the video world with illegal file sharing, is now being embraced as a legitimate distribution mechanism, and both content owners and service providers are interested in the approach.

There's certainly evidence that P2P is being taken seriously by some of the world's largest entertainment and TV/video services companies. The British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) has been trialing P2P-based services for some time, AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) has embraced the concept for its online TV services, and U.K. cable giant ntl group ltd. (Nasdaq: NTLI) engaged in a trial earlier this year with Cachelogic and BitTorrent as its technology partners. (See NTL Teams on P2P Trial, AOL Goes P2P for Video, and P2P Gets Serious.)

And in recent weeks there has been a welter of P2P video news, including unconfirmed news that Skype Ltd. founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis are developing P2P-based video distribution technology under the codename "Project Venice." (See Video Caching Steps Into the Limelight, Skyrider Sees Profits in P2P, Limelight Lands $130M , and IP2P Launches.)

So what exactly has Cachelogic done? Parker says the company is currently building out its physical network of caches in the metro locations of very large global network providers, none of which he can name at present. By the end of this year 17 of these nodes will be in operation, with six in Europe, five in the U.S., one in Latin America, and five in Asia/Pacific (including Australia).

This process is costing millions of dollars, and is funded by the company's recent $20 million round of backing. (See More Cash for CacheLogic .)

In addition, Cache Discovery Protocol (CDP) has been integrated into BitTorrent's and RawFlow's latest P2P clients, enabling them to interact with the VelociX network. Cachelogic says other P2P client companies are set to follow suit.

Then, all Cachelogic needs are media owners prepared to feed their content into the VelociX caching points and service providers, such as ISPs and telecom operators, prepared to use the network as a way of distributing content to their broadband subscribers.

But why would these companies sign up to Cachelogic's approach? For media companies it's a way of distributing their entire content catalogues to consumers without having to physically package and distribute disks such as DVDs. Cachelogic guarantees the security of the content and keeps records of storage and usage.

For service providers it's a bandwidth-efficient way of offering revenue-generating and legal content downloads without having to build their own distribution architecture and store content.

CacheLogic plans to charge content owners a small storage charge for hosting their products and then generate revenues from each gigabyte of content delivered from VelociX to an end user.

The company's recently appointed CEO, Pat Chapman-Pincher, says the company has had positive feedback from both media companies and service providers, but "now we have to show proof of concept and show the platform running in anger." (See CacheLogic Gets CEO.)

Clearly, persuading companies to sign up to the concept will be the toughest part of the process, especially as there are already alternative content distribution platforms in existence, and many service providers are building their own content delivery platforms with the likes of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT).

But Parker says Chapman-Pincher's name and experience -- she was previously president of global ISP UUNet, which was part of WorldCom -- is helping to open doors, and says the company will be announcing customers and partners during the rest of 2006.

In a separate piece of news, Cachelogic has added Thailand's top ISP True Internet as a new customer for its P2P Management Solution and CDP technology. True Internet will use the platform to manage P2P traffic on its network and to distribute content to its subscribers.

So while CacheLogic says it can't name any names at present, True Internet looks like a prime candidate to hook up to the VelociX network, while NTL, which hadn't returned our calls as this article was published, also looks to be a strong prospect.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

hh71 12/5/2012 | 3:45:17 AM
re: CacheLogic Builds P2P Content Network Can anyone explain how this is conceptually any different from a classic content delivery network like Akamai?

I guess it's a recognition that the client applications which have been built for P2P protocols like BitTorrent have become more familiar/attractive (to the user) ways of "getting" content than HTTP-based client applications?
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