The P-Grid Project

About P-Grid

P-Grid is a trie-structured overlay network designed specifically for data-oriented applications.

P-Grid is a relatively mature technology, with a functional Java based implementation in place. The current implementation incorporates many of the ideas that have been theoretically predicted and validated with rigorous simulations. The P-Grid implementation is a live project, with continuous addition of new features and support for higher level applications, as well as fine-tuning the implementation for better performance being underway.

P-Grid supports:

Beyond DHTs: The P-Grid routing network

P-Grid abstracts a trie and resolves queries based on prefix matching. The actual topology has no hierarchy. Queries are resolved by matching prefixes. This also determines the choice of routing table entries. Each peer, for each level of the trie, maintains autonomously routing entries chosen randomly from the complementary sub-trees. In fact, multiple entries are maintained for each level at each peer to provide fault-tolerance (as well as potentially for query-load management). While not shown in the figure below, in practice, for diverse reasons including fault-tolerance and load-balancing, multiple peers are responsible for each leaf node in the P-Grid tree. These are called replicas. The replica peers maintain an independent replica sub-network and uses gossip based communication to keep the replica group up-to-date. We call the redundancy in both the replication of key-space partitions as well as the routing network together as structural replication. The figure below shows how a query is resolved by forwarding it based on prefix matching.

An overview of the P-Grid system can be found in the following: LNCS book chapter, Sigmod record P-Grid overview

Range queries in P-Grid

P-Grid partitions the key-space in a granularity adaptive to the load at that part of the key-space. Consequently, its possible to realize a P-Grid overlay network where each peer has similar storage load even for non-uniform load distributions. This network provably provides as efficient search of keys as traditional Distributed Hash Tables (DHTs) do. Note that in contrast to P-Grid, DHTs work efficiently only for uniform load-distributions.

Hence we can use a lexicographic order preserving function to generate the keys, and still realize a load-balanced P-Grid network which supports efficient search of exact keys. Moreover, because of the preservation of lexicographic ordering, range queries can be done efficiently and precisely on P-Grid. The trie-structure of P-Grid allows different range query strategies, processed serially or parallely, trading off message overheads and query resolution latency. The figure below shows the shower variant of range queries on a P-Grid network.

More details on range queries in P-Grid can be found in our P2P 2005 paper.