While Napster, Gnutella, and the thorny issue of intellectual property rights have thrust p-to-p (peer-to-peer) computing into the spotlight, the IT enterprise is now looking to tame the computing model for its own purposes.
Perhaps savvy channel players should also be investigating market opportunities in the delivery of p-to-p solutions to enterprise customers.
In two weeks, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and others will host the first meeting of the Peer-to-Peer Working Group in hopes of ironing out p-to-p standards so the technology can be used in a business-to-business setting without privacy or security fears.
Companies are eyeing p-to-p technology as a way to offer an efficient and inexpensive way to do business, particularly of the business-to-consumer and business-to-business variety, according to officials involved in the standards push.
"There are some tasks that absolutely have to be done by big servers in the center of the wheel, but there are other things like virus protection that can be run utilizing the idle computing cycles that exist in a large network," said Howard High, communications manager at Intel.
Indeed, High said, the savings in the p-to-p model can be dramatic. Intel engineers have used internal p-to-p technology Netbatch in chip design and have saved Intel US$500 million over a decade, High said.
Of course, the chip giant has a distinct interest in promoting p-to-p, which ideally could leverage computer downtime when more computing capacity is available.
"P-to-p information-sharing technology will radically change business models and enterprise technology management approaches since it addresses an exponentially growing demand for more and faster information," Gartner analyst John Pescatore said in a recent report.