A (Microsoft) Code Name a Day: Avalanche

Summary:A few years back, there was much to-do over Microsoft developing what was described as a "BitTorrent killer." That technology, code-named "Avalanche," is finally out in pre-beta form. You can read more about Avalanche in today's "Microsoft Code Name of the Day" post.

I'm resuming my Microsoft Code Name a Day series that I started in December 2006. The goal: To provide the back story, each day in August, on one of Microsoft's myriad code names. Some of these code names might be familiar to Microsoft watchers; others (hopefully) will be brand-new.

Microsoft code names offer some great clues about the Redmondians’ development priorities, not to mention a better understanding of which future Microsoft products fit together, from a strategy standpoint. And not every product group is moving to boring, numbered codenames (like Windows 7 and Office 14).

Without further ado, let the codename games begin.

Microsoft code name of the day: Avalanche

Microsoft code name of the day: Avalanche

Best guess on what it is: Microsoft Secure Content Downloader (MSCD)

Meaning/context of the code name: Avalanche had a rocky start back in 2005, when it was a Microsoft research project that many dubbed Redmond's BitTorrent killer. I guess the P2P file sharing was poised to set off a cascading avalanche of secure file downloads?

Back story: MSCD is "a peer-assisted" download manager capable of securely downloading specific files. The target audience is consumers who are downloading from a home PC, or business users whose computers are not behind a corporate firewall.

Microsoft's more detailed description: "MSCD allows authorized content publishers to distribute their content to a large audience via file swarming. The publisher can choose to use MSCD to augment their existing server bandwidth, or use it to enable them to reach a much larger audience than they could have otherwise with a relatively small server investment. MSCD is NOT a file searching or file sharing technology: it's intended for a small number of publishers to distribute content to a large number of customers."

Additional info: Microsoft made a Community Technology Preview pre-beta release of Secure Content Downloader available from its Web site in late July. The preview is quite limited for now, however, and will only allow you to obtain current Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2. And the test period is slated for four weeks only. So far, Microsoft has no announced plans to incorporate MSCD into any of its products, or to offer it as a separate product.

Got a Microsoft code name you’ve been wondering about? Send it my way and I’ll do my best to track down some leads on what it might be.

And if you want to keep track of the full month's worth of Microsoft code names I end up posting, bookmark this "Microsoft Codenames" page. You can also check out this video-whiteboard I did recently on Microsoft codenames.

Topics: Microsoft

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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