Using Silverlight to distribute workload to your clients

In my previous article i explained how you can distribute server side processing on Azure to scale the backend of your Silverlight applications. But what if we did a 180 could use Silverlight to distribute work out to clients instead?

The idea

For years people have been running applications on their home computers to help the greater good. They use the ‘spare CPU cycles’ of your computer to brute force an algorithm. Popular examples include:

  • Seti@home (help process signals from space to search for extraterrestrial life)
  • Folding@Home (help run calculations to figure out how protiens fold, to aid in dieses Alzheimer’s, ALS, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s disease, and many Cancers)
  • (for fun try to crack encryption algorithms)

An issue with these applications is the need for a user to install the software onto their home computers. With the increasing worries over trojans, viruses + system administrators locking down PCs it can be difficult to install these applications. So what if we used Silverlight to assist in this?

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Using Windows Azure to scale your Silverlight Application

When deploying your Silverlight application out to your customers, there are a number of points that could become bottlenecks. Looking at it at a high level there are 3 main ones

  1. Getting your files to the client (.xap + other media)
  2. Processing requests
  3. Retrieving data

Lets tackle these in order

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