Feeds

Altnet plays P2P leapfrog

Or is that KaZaA piggy-back?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

There's at least eight young companies with peer-to-peer content delivery network stories on the market at the moment, each hoping to revolutionize the internet and save companies money, but Altnet Inc, which launched this week, reckons it can leapfrog them all,

The company, a subsidiary of Brilliant Digital Entertainment Inc, has distributed client software to about 25 million consumers, by quietly piggybacking on the popular KaZaA file-trading software, and now hopes to leverage that user base to deliver services to consumer-oriented media companies and ultimately other types of enterprise.

Altnet this week announced it has launched the first stage of the Altnet Resource Network, a P2P network of consumer PCs that the company ultimately hopes to exploit to sell wholesale storage, bandwidth and processing to enterprise customers. Some participants will be compensated with reward points, tradable for goods and services.

The idea of a virtual supercomputer, powered by the spare processor cycles and bandwidth of thousands of PCs, is anything but new. The SETI@Home screensaver is the best-known project. Big names such as IBM Corp have thrown their weight behind so-called "grid computing" and dozens of other companies have tested the water.

But of the companies that hoped to make a business out of such systems, the success rate is low. Popular Power Inc tried it and is now out of business. Juno Online Services Inc (now one half of United Online Inc) had a "virtual supercomputer" that faded away.

Altnet thinks its chances of being successful are much higher, due to its ready-made distribution network - KaZaA - which will be a basis for building up its own network. Surviving companies that had service-based ideas, such as United Devices Inc and Porivo Inc are potential Altnet customers.

CEO Kevin Burmeister told ComputerWire: "To start with, with have a significant distribution advantage. Altnet has been distributed to 25 million-plus desktops."

The first stage of the ARN rollout is TopSearch. When a KaZaA user enters a search term the top three results will not come from files listed on the KaZaA network, but from an index of paid sponsors maintained by Altnet and distributed to KaZaA peers. The search results will link to media files (protected with Microsoft Corp's digital rights management technology) on Altnet seed peers.

Next quarter, the ARN will launch fully, with certain users invited to install an Altnet "dashboard" application that allows them to control the amount and timing of computing and bandwidth resources they contribute to the network. These "qualified PC" partners will be given reward points as "rent".

Named launch customers include 2K Sounds, a record label in the EMI stable, and computer games maker Infogrames, but Burmeister says more content providers are on board. Many dislike the idea of distributing over KaZaA, but have more confidence in the control Altnet gives them, Burmeister said.

Altnet's competition will include the likes of CenterSpan Communications Corp, which bought the assets of the old Scour Inc P2P networks and has Sony Corp on board as a content provider, as well as companies such as Yaga Inc, which operates a "digital content marketplace" with a web/P2P hybrid structure.

In addition, there are several other companies that could claim to be competitors. RedSwoosh Inc and EverNet Inc are still in stealth mode, but are expected to have similar offerings when they launch. Napster, if it ever leaves legal and financial purgatory, could prove troublesome, particularly with the Napster brand and backing from new parent Bertelsmann AG.

Kontiki Inc initially seemed like it was going after the same market, but is now focusing on selling software to enterprises that want to create their own CDNs, a strategy it says it had all along. Avaki Inc, formerly Applied Metacomputing Inc, and Uprizer Inc both have similar software strategies.

© ComputerWire. All rights reserved.

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.