P2P Turning to Legitimate Applications

It’s proven its mettle as a method for trading pirated music, but now it’s time for peer-to-peer (P2P) networking to find some applications that can be used in business. Frost & Sullivan is confident it will, to the tune of 6.2 million enterprises and more than $4.53 billion in revenue in 2007.

According to Frost & Sullivan’s report “U.S. Enterprise Peer-to-Peer Networking Markets,” P2P networking is no longer an architecture in search of a business application, it is an architecture that businesses can employ to their advantage. Approximately 61,410 enterprise users have access to a P2P network, the report found, but that number is predicted to top 6.2 million by 2007. Total market revenues in 2001 should reach $42.8 million and exceed $4.53 billion by 2007.

“An obstacle to an effective enterprise P2P network is convincing network administrators that a P2P network can be secured to prevent digital assets theft,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Jarad Carleton. “This will require significant resources from market participants to devote to education on P2P security features as well as potential benefits that can be obtained by implementing an enterprise P2P network.”

Fortunately, for vendors currently offering solutions that use P2P networking protocols, the interest of major technology companies in the P2P space is lending credibility to P2P technology. Companies such as Sun Microsystems are actively involved in attempts to develop a common platform for P2P applications and protocols.

“Sun has developed an open source community around this platform and is working to incorporate security mechanisms to prevent aberrant processes from running on it,” Carleton said.

According to a Yankee Group report on the subject, the P2P market is evolving into four primary market segments: resource aggregators, “people-to-people” collaboration tools, applications based on P2P architectures and infrastructure tools upon which developers can build P2P applications.

“Napster has seriously disrupted the music distribution business and has caused a huge resurgence of interest in peer-to-peer computing. While not a new technology concept, the Internet provides a ubiquitous data dialtone that enables end users to connect directly with their peers without the intervention of IT or intermediary servers,” said Neal Goldman, director of the Yankee Group’s Internet Computing Strategies research and consulting practice. “P2P technology is causing the Internet community to change its focus from pure Web-based applications to those that connect directly over protocols other than HTTP.”

By turning the focus of the Internet away from the Web, the Yankee Group predicts that peer-to-peer networking will permeate the enterprise as well as consumer applications.

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