Distributed hash tables are increasingly being proposed as the core substrate for content delivery applications in the Internet, such as cooperative Web caches, Web index and search, and content delivery systems. The performance of these applications built on DHTs fundamentally depends on the effectiveness of request routing within the DHT. In this paper, we show how to use soft state to achieve routing performance that approaches the aggressive performance of one-hop schemes, but with an order of magnitude less overhead on average. We use three kinds of hint caches to improve routing latency: local hint caches, path hint caches, and global hint caches. Local hint caches use large successor lists to short cut final hops. Path hint caches store a moderate number of effective route entries gathered while performing lookups for other nodes. And global hint caches store direct routes to peers distributed across the ID space. Based upon our simulation results, we find that the combination of the hint caches significantly improves Chord routing performance: in a network of 4,096 peers, the hint caches enable Chord to route requests with average latencies only 6% more than algorithms that use complete routing tables with significantly less overhead.
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