Networking Research

Cloud Storage Dissected: A View Inside Dropbox

Applied Networking Research Prize winner presentation

By: Mat Ford

Date: March 1, 2014

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Idilio Drago, the latest recipient of the Applied Networking Research Prize (ANRP) was in Vancouver to receive his award and present the research work for which he was selected. Idilio received his award for characterizing the traffic and workloads of the Dropbox cloud storage system (Idilio Drago, Marco Mellia, Maurizio M. Munafo, Anna Sperotto, Ramin Sadre, and Aiko Pras. Inside Dropbox: Understanding Personal Cloud Storage Services. Proc. ACM Internet Measurement Conference, November 2012, Boston, MA, USA.).

Presenting to the Internet Research Task Force open meeting, Idilio gave a master class in reverse engineering in his talk titled, “Inside Dropbox: Understanding Personal Cloud Storage Services.” Idilio recently received his PhD from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, and he was the fourth and final ANRP winner for 2013.

Idilio and his coauthors’ analysis illustrates the considerable volume of traffic that cloud storage services now represent by total volume of traffic on a campus network—up to a third of YouTube traffic in one case. Their work also identified scalability problems resulting from system design choices and they were able to observe these inefficiencies being resolved by the developers during the course of their study. Downloads of their final paper are available online on the IRTF Web site at

The selection committee for the 2014 ANRP awards recently concluded its work of sifting through the highest number of nominations to date. The call for nominations for the 2015 award cycle will open in the autumn of 2014. Put it in your calendar now and submit your nominations when the time comes!

About the ANRP

The ANRP is awarded for recent results in applied networking research that are relevant for transitioning into shipping Internet products and related standardization efforts. The goal of the prize is to recognize the best new ideas in networking, and bring them to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and its research arm, the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF), especially in cases where they would not otherwise see much exposure or discussion. Researchers with relevant, recent results are encouraged to apply for this prize, which offers them the opportunity to present and discuss their work with the engineers, network operators, policy makers, and scientists who participate in the IETF the IRTF. Third-party nominations for this prize are encouraged.

The Applied Networking Research Prize consists of:

  • an invited talk at the IRTF Open Meeting
  • a cash prize of $500 (USD)
  • a travel grant to attend a week-long IETF meeting (including airfare, hotel, registration, and stipend)
  • recognition at the IETF plenary
  • an invitation to related social activities
  • potential for additional travel grants to future IETF meetings, based on community feedback