Intel: peer-to-peer building blocks around the corner

Continuing its development of peer-to-peer computing, Intel preannounced the arrival of XML Web service technology and other p-to-p “building blocks” at this week’s Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Jose, Calif.

Intel Corp.’s XML middleware will help accelerate the development of p-to-p technology as a mainstream method of computing, Intel officials said. Intel is an active promoter of p-to-p computing, and launched a formal p-to-p development program this past spring.

Peer-to-peer computing links multiple computer systems together into a single, virtual computer for the purpose of harnessing multiple CPUs for data-intensive calculations, or for sharing and leveraging resources such as files, storage, and applications.

Details of Intel’s upcoming p-to-p building blocks include support for location independence of p-to-p participants, encryption for greater security, and higher availability. Intel officials said the technology would help ISVs to better prototype and develop new p-to-p applications on Microsoft Corp.’s .NET framework. Microsoft’s .NET framework already offers support for p-to-p computing, according to Intel officials.

With a standards-based approach vital to the success of future p-to-p networks, Intel is working with partner companies such as DiamondCluster International, a global business strategy and technology solutions firm; and Lante, an information technology consulting company focused on helping companies collaborate via the Internet.

“The development of a standards-based approach to [p-to-p] has great implications,” said Lante spokesman Rick Gray. “Us being able to be involved as [Intel is] developing this technology makes a lot of logical sense. Our collaboration with them is just beginning.”

A specific launch date for Intel’s p-to-p building blocks has not been given.

A study on p-to-p computing by International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass., determined that p-to-p computing models that link mainly servers instead of PC clients “will emerge as the standard.

“The limited experience with newer p-to-p computing is likely to change the way we think about network connectivity and resources,” the IDC report said. “But valid questions remain about how to use p-to-p effectively in both consumer and business environments. For consumer services such as Napster, a legal minefield surrounds intellectual property rights and related micropayment functionality — two critical issues that need to be addressed.

“In certain business situations, p-to-p represents an innovative way of maximizing resources dynamically, but unresolved issues still reside around security, common protocols, and standards for interoperability,” the report explained. “Determining where and how to best implement p-to-p computing in various IT markets is the challenge facing its proponents.”