Report: Skype's network now running on 10,000 Linux PCs

Microsoft's acquisition of Skype back in October 2011 has apparently resulted in a major change in how Skype's network infrastructure has been organized. According to researcher Kostya Kortchinsky of Immunity Security, the change involves Skype ditching its previous peer-to-peer network of client-hosted supernodes.

This network setup has been in place since Skype launched in 2003 and involved as many as 48,000 clients, most of them regular Skype users. Now Kortchinsky claims that his research has revealed Skype has switched over to 10,000 Linux-based PCs for its network, all of which are hosted by Skype's new parent Microsoft.

This new system will allow each Linux PC to handle as many as 100,000 Skype clients, according to Kortchinsky. In a chat with Ars Technica, he states, "It's pretty good for security reasons because then you don't rely on random people running random stuff on their machine. You just have something that's centralized and secure."

This new network, which was apparently established a couple of months ago, was put in place just as Skype saw a spike in users. Microsoft said a couple of weeks ago that Skype generated a whopping 100 billion minutes of calls in the first quarter of 2012, up a massive 40 percent from the same period a year ago.

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So why couldn't they update Skype to use secure encrypted tunneling protocols but still keep it decentralized and P2P? P2P was the main distinguishing feature of Skype.

xpclient said,
So why couldn't they update Skype to use secure encrypted tunneling protocols but still keep it decentralized and P2P? P2P was the main distinguishing feature of Skype.


It always was encrypted due to its p2p nature. I don't think much of this decision either .

xpclient said,
So why couldn't they update Skype to use secure encrypted tunneling protocols but still keep it decentralized and P2P? P2P was the main distinguishing feature of Skype.

I really doubt most people know or care it was p2p.

simsie said,
It always was encrypted due to its p2p nature. I don't think much of this decision either .

Apparently the calls still go through P2P but the supernodes which maintain the list of who's online etc are moved to centralized servers which are probably secured by firewall/NATs.

I'm not an Ubuntu fan, but I'm a Linux fan and I would say that with the amount of free software being offered by sites like dotdeb.com, it could be tempting for anyone to pick it up and start using it. It saves the cost of developement.

Perhaps this is why I have noticed a large increase in the number of dropped calls and also a decrease in overall call quality in recent weeks.

xTdub said,
Perhaps this is why I have noticed a large increase in the number of dropped calls and also a decrease in overall call quality in recent weeks.

It's been the opposite for me

Skype's only been around since 2003... wow, I thought it was a lot earlier that that. Seems like I've been using Skype since forever.

This new setup has probably been in planning for a long time, so I can't see it being a Microsoft move.

Still, I don't think it was ethical for the Skype & Microsoft acquisition to happen. I can only see this having bad effects for the Skype client on non-Microsoft platforms later down the line.

ShMaunder said,
Skype's only been around since 2003... wow, I thought it was a lot earlier that that. Seems like I've been using Skype since forever.

This new setup has probably been in planning for a long time, so I can't see it being a Microsoft move.

Still, I don't think it was ethical for the Skype & Microsoft acquisition to happen. I can only see this having bad effects for the Skype client on non-Microsoft platforms later down the line.


As long as they don't do the same as they did with WLM which is hardly anywhere near the size it use to be.

recursive said,
Looks like MS don't trust their own technology if they are running them off Linux boxes.

read my comment above

recursive said,
Looks like MS don't trust their own technology if they are running them off Linux boxes.

read my comment above

recursive said,
Looks like MS don't trust their own technology if they are running them off Linux boxes.

Why did I expect this troll comment from you?
Microsoft is working on Linux too, so nothing is wrong with this.

recursive said,
Looks like MS don't trust their own technology if they are running them off Linux boxes.

The Linux instances are most likely virtualized in a datacenter using hyper-V.

recursive said,
Looks like MS don't trust their own technology if they are running them off Linux boxes.

When Winblowz goes down, they switch to Linux and yet they promote Windows. ayhats ms for ya.

I expect this will raise their costs with very little benefit to end users. Skype does and always has "Just worked" regardless of when it was using the P2P system or this new direct to server system. I understand they care about security and reliability but the traffic has always been encrypted anyway and to me at least quite reliable.

So I dunno *shrug* I'm indifferent to the news I suppose.

recursive said,

Nice troll attempt. Too bad microsoft don't trust their own tech enough to use it themselves though.

yeah, because not just using at first what already works isn't a fast solution?... give it time MS took a while to transition Hotmail from BSD servers to windows servers, it was years... it takes more then just pulling one switch and turning on another... lots of engineering and redesign to make sure its running optimally

ShareShiz said,
Didnt even know there were more than 10,000 linux computers out there

/s

... must be a slow day for John.

Actually more than a million websites run on Linux if you be picky what you are inferring to is the Linux Ubuntu Operating system in which less than 6000 people use.. lol

Totalaero said,
Actually more than a million websites run on Linux if you be picky what you are inferring to is the Linux Ubuntu Operating system in which less than 6000 people use.. lol
There is not a website to server ratio of 1:1.
You can run/host distinct websites (from Neowin.net to localtvstation.com) on the same server, same OS even (though virtualization makes it easier to seperate OS).

So... 1 million websites on linux =/= 1 million linux servers.

cybertimber2008 said,
There is not a website to server ratio of 1:1.
You can run/host distinct websites (from Neowin.net to localtvstation.com) on the same server, same OS even (though virtualization makes it easier to seperate OS).

So... 1 million websites on linux =/= 1 million linux servers.

But you'd need more than 10,000 right?

Also how many websites run on multiple servers? For example any website with a decent amount of traffic would load balance, and have a separate server for static content, and their databases on a separate server(s) as well.

So there could be more than 1 million servers..