Sun Unveils Distributing Computing Software

Even the larger fish are trying their hands at peer-to-peer, or distributed
computing, although Sun Microsystems Inc. leaked its news to the public in
low-key fashion Wednesday.


Taking a bit of a breather from its fierce server battles with chief rival
IBM Corp., the hardware company revealed a distributed computing software,
the tangible evidence of a project that was announced in February. Project
JXTA, (pronounced “juxta”) aims to allow easy access to peers and resources
on the “expanded Web,” as the firm refers to it.


Another task devised by Internet visionary and Sun Chief Scientist and
Co-Founder Bill Joy, the Java-based JXTA was created to smooth the
information gathering process across multiple networks and diverse
platforms.


The announcement marks an interesting twist for Sun, which has not pushed
distributed computing — a philosophy that calls for computing power in both
the network infrastructure and the client devices used to access the
network — in the past.
But it is hardly a departure from its bread and butter — powerful servers
and thin client devices.


Sun will likely use JXTA in its Sun One software strategy, which is geared
to compete with Microsoft Corp.’s software-as-a-service strategy .NET.


Though best popularized by music file-swapping firm Napster Inc., and others
of its ilk, peer-to-peer networking has been touted by analysts who see it
as having huge potential to work in the enterprise space, where users could
communicate with each other effectively across anything from personal
digital assistant (PDAs) to PCs to servers.


Gartner Group said companies who use peer-to-peer networking gain new
competitive advantages for their businesses.


“Businesses that need to give users access to distributed, business-critical
content should consider data-centered peer-to-peer distributed content
management solutions,” said Joe Sweeney, research director at Gartner. “As
this new model of content distribution matures, organizations will find that
the flexibility of peer-to-peer solutions provides greater efficiency.”


In much the same fashion as it did with Java, Sun also launched an
accompanying site, jxta.org, as an open source project where developers can
put their heads together to hash out uses of Project JXTA. The developers
will work on distributed services and applications that allow users to
quickly find, get, and use information.


Calling the project the fulfillment of a vision he has had for 25 years, Joy
said he had wanted a computing model based on the systems approach from UNIX
platforms, the portable code capabilities from Java technology, and the
universal language for describing portable data from XML.


Now, it seems, Joy has it. Fresh out of its incubation phase, Project JXTA’s
formation is documented on jxta.org, which is supported by CollabNet, a
collaborative software development solutions provider steeped in open source
concepts.


“The Web is evolving in both depth and breadth into an ‘expanded Web,’ which
makes it challenging to efficiently communicate and access resources on the
Internet,” said Mike Clary, vice president, Project JXTA. “Sun is offering a
unified approach to address this next phase of distributed computing, an
approach that will enable users to quickly and easily Find it, Get it, Use
it.”

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