P2P (peer to peer)
Just a few years removed from the mayhem of music swapping that clogged corporate networks, peer-to-peer technology is growing up and rediscovering its roots as a legitimate concept for distributed computing in corporate environments and the Internet (networking old-timers recall the days before things like client/server, when computers talked directly to each other to share information).
The turnaround is distinct since P2P has distanced itself from the darling days of Napster and has been transplanted onto the architectural drawing boards of Internet and corporate network gurus.
For network executives, the about-face is showing up in such discrete places as wireless routing, identity management, Web services and grid computing. P2P has proved its worth - albeit with a few warts - in enterprise collaboration and content management applications, but its brightest future may be in the plumbing of corporate distributed computing.
P2P in its purest form is two endpoints communicating without a server in the middle. But many P2P products use a hybrid approach that can incorporate a server.
Questions around security, standards and quality of service still have to be answered before P2P can flourish, experts say.
To underscore P2P's evolution, the Global Grid Forum (GGF), a 2-year-old group founded by academics and researches, merged in April, 2002 with the P2P Working Group, originally founded by Intel. The groups are attempting to marry the GGF's work on harnessing servers on a grid with P2P's ability to connect desktops.
From P2P getting down to some serious work, Network World, 08/19/02.
Peer to Peer Working Group
P2P research center
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