Since I started playing around with computers, communication of machines over a “wire” has been fascinating to me. This is probably why I ended up in the distributed applications space.
Typically clients talk to servers and servers to servers – but less common clients directly to clients. But applications like MSN Messenger or Skype show useful use cases of client to client communication. With Vista and Server 2008 (and XP SP2 + some components) peer to peer networking has become part of the operating system. There is also a peer channel in WCF that sits on top of these core components. Time to have a closer look.
So what features is the P2P infrastructure supposed to give you?
- Global/local registration of services
- Global/local connectivity between peers which includes the capability to traverse NAT devices
- Global/local virtual broadcasting networks
- Peer/Service Discovery
- Invitation/activation of P2P enabled applications
All of these capabilities are as fascinating as they are scary. More importantly I really think that P2P communication patterns will be a “big” thing and will also change the way we have to think about network/perimeter security.
In the next posts I will write about some of my findings. Stay tuned.