Many large-scale distributed systems can benefit from a service that allows them to select among alternative nodes based on their relative network positions. A variety of approaches propose new measurement infrastructures that attempt to scale this service to large numbers of nodes by reducing the amount of direct measurements to end hosts. In this paper, we introduce a new approach to relative network positioning that eliminates direct probing by leveraging pre-existing infrastructure. Specifically, we exploit the dynamic association of nodes with replica servers from large content distribution networks (CDNs) to determine relative position information – we call this approach CDN-based Relative network Positioning (CRP). We demonstrate how CRP can support two common examples of location information used by distributed applications: server selection and dynamic node clustering. After describing CRP in detail, we present results from an extensive wide-area evaluation that demonstrates its effectiveness
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