Barrett sees IT future in peer-to-peer technology

Intel CEO Craig Barrett last week told an audience of 4000 developers at the company's semiannual technical conference that peer-to-peer computing is becoming a technology "that IT managers are going to have to worry about".

Citing the way Napster works among more than 200 servers online for consumers of MP3 music files, Barrett said information technology managers will begin using the idle processing power of PCs and servers inside their organisations to handle data-intensive business applications.

Andrew Grimsha, an executive at Applied MetaComputing LLC in Virginia, showed a current peer-to-peer application in use now among scientists and engineers working for Boeing, the Department of Defense and other secure government operations.

But not everyone is convinced that peer-to-peer architectures fit in with business, said John Enck an analyst at Connecticut-based Gartner Group.

"Peer-to-peer computing is not business-ready yet. There is no business infrastructure in place to handle peer-to-peer issues," he said. Enck cited security and management as two areas that haven't yet been fully addressed for IT.

The semiconductor giant has made an extra effort to target IT managers at this Intel Development Conference, which is normally geared toward developers. In addition to highlighting peer-to-peer issues for IT, Barrett said in his keynote speech that Intel systems are now ready to run e-commerce data centres.

Largely excluded

But Enck said that Intel-based systems still remain largely excluded from data centres running complex analytical tasks for data mining and big database applications. But he noted that Intel-based technology is ubiquitous in all other e-commerce server installations.