SPECIAL: 4:15PM, Tuesday, October 18th 2005.
Packard 101

Planet Scale Software Updates

Pablo Rodriguez Rodriguez
Microsoft Research, UK

About the talk:
Fast and effective distribution of software updates (a.k.a patches) to millions of Internet users has evolved into a critical task over the last years. The reasons are at least twofold: (i) the number of users is large which requires costly server resources; (ii) the time between malware appearance and patch release is shrinking, posing strong requirements on timeliness of proactive patching.

In this talk, we try to understand how to best provide fast and effective planet-scale patch dissemination. To this extend, we use real-world measurement traces gathered from a major software update system: Windows Updates.

We present a number of interesting observations regarding how frequently computers are updated, what set of components are updated the most, what are typical user profiles, etc. We then consider caching and P2P delivery strategies to efficiently cope with download requests that exhibit various complexities due to diversity of user operating systems, temporal dependencies, and time-zone effects. We finally provide valuable insight in the design and architecture of a large-scale software update system.

About the speaker:
Pablo Rodriguez is a researcher at Microsoft Research, Cambridge. Prior to Microsoft he worked at Bell-Labs and Inktomi. His research interests are in the areas of P2P (Avalanche), Content Distribution, and Wireless networks. He holds a Ph.D. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL).

As a result of his work Pablo Rodriguez received several awards including the "Prix de la Recherche" in France, and the "Extraordinary Category Classification in Science" from the USA government.