Intel enlists peers for peer-to-peer standards

Intel enlists peers for peer-to-peer standards

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

Swimming with the tide, Intel Corp. last month announced it would concentrate its development efforts on relatively new endeavors such as peer-to-peer networking.

'Our challenge is to make it easier to build modular Internet solutions,' Intel president and chief executive officer Craig Barrett said in keynote remarks at the Intel Developer Forum in San Jose, Calif.

'The horizontal computing industry is delivering performance and innovation far more economically than any single, vertically integrated company,' he said. 'The modular Internet will be created as we work together.'

Pat Gelsinger, Intel vice president and chief technology officer, said the chip maker would enlist a peer-to-peer working group, composed of representatives of leading hardware companies, to agree on industry standards.

Peer-to-peer information sharing has grown popular because of online innovations such as the SETI@home experiment, Gnutella and the embattled Napster'projects that all share data files on ad hoc networks of available PCs.

Radically different

The peer-to-peer model differs considerably from the current client-server model, which stores data in a central repository from which users can retrieve and work with it. Issues to be tackled by the working group include security, storage management and interoperability of disparate platforms.

'Peer-to-peer computing could be as important to the Internet's future as the Web browser was to its past,' Gelsinger said. 'Peer-to-peer has the potential to play a major role in business computing.' For example, he said, organizations could use trillions of idle machine cycles and terabytes of storage to run applications more efficiently and generate new types of apps.

Meanwhile, Intel last month debuted a 1.4-GHz desktop PC processor and has released a 1-GHz Pentium III Xeon server processor.

The long-delayed 64-bit Intel Itanium processor will appear in eight- to 32-processor servers from Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Hitachi Data Systems Corp., IBM Corp., NEC Computer Systems Division, SGI and Unisys Corp., among others.

For users who want more power, Intel said its Pentium IV processor, due later this year, will double the Pentium III's pipeline depth, speed up core logic processes and support a 400-MHz system bus.

The Pentium IV will work with Rambus dynamic RAM, which has been criticized as too slow and expensive. Intel vice president Albert Yu said the cost and supply problems for RDRAM should dissipate as production increases.

Intel last month recalled some early 1.13-GHz Pentium III processors from production because of faulty performance under certain conditions. Few PCs with gigahertz chips by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., have reached market [GCN, Aug. 21, Page 41].

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