A well-resourced CDN provides far better and more consistant performance than P2P, and does so while placing less load on the networks. It's big downside is the very considerable cost - the hardware, rack rental, and negociating deals with ISPs. They arn't even doing to talk to any company that doesn't have a few million dollars to bolster their reputation. So the CDN remains the prefered distribution method of the well-financed company seeking to deliver the most reliable service at a premium price (netflix) while P2P remains the perfered distribution method of those who need good-enough delivery but can't afford to spend millions of dollars (Pirates, independent games developers, linux distros, non-profit media). There are a few exceptions like Blizzard who use p2p as a way to save a few bucks, but that's mostly how it goes. P2P offers 'good enough' for free, while CDN offers 'excellent' at a hefty price.
Agree [one hundred gazillion percent (mod 100)] + 100
CDN = Internet features like Netflix, Amazon.com, etc we know today
Without a CDN structure in the web today, the speeds we see would only be a pipe dream.
It's big downside is the very considerable cost - the hardware, rack rental, and negotiating deals with ISPs.
Costs are falling as demand is rising. Only good news here (for the CDN companies at a start). Why does it always have to be the ISPs... you know?
The comment by Kjella above addresses the seemingly moral boundary that exists with these costs:
Yeah. Sadly the Internet didn't evolve a generic, open CDN-ish system. Something not unlike a HTTP proxy, except you store binary blocks by hash. If some other guy from my ISP has downloaded the same torrent, I'd just grab it from my ISPs "CDN" server instead. Really just a HDD with a LRU cache, new stuff is added and the least used falls off.
Depending on how complicated you want it you could have a hierarchy of them, like first try locally, regionally, nationally etc. so stuff would only get pulled long-distance once. The MAFIAA would of course jump all over it but you could store encrypted pieces - wouldn't do them much good unless they had the access key. It'd probably save them bandwidth and money while we get faster content - a win-win. [interesting]
Instead you have to make deals with the big CDNs with again have to make deals with the big ISPs and everybody wants $$$ all the way. [Nothing new] Ah well the good thing is that P2P drives fiber everywhere - I heard that in my home town of 150k people there's now 2400 cable gates that need asphalt. Soon the "last mile" problem is a thing of the past. Well, except places like the US but I don't care about those :) [cable quantity and how that cable is laid are two different issues!]
However, we do have to remember on what existing backbone the internet was implemented: cable TV and internet still share the same physical connection for the majority of the country and thus the existing architectures were best equipped to deliver content to the users not from one user to another. People will always be greedy (see $$$ reference) but I say let the investors pay for the content delivery and do not regulate the rest...server farms are not cheap!
(Yes, there is much i missed and breezed over here SuricouRaven, et al...take it as a general observation and not as concrete fact please)
The future** is bright! _____ **patent pending.
^^Above comment does not argue with your guys ideas, just rambles really...