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A VPN is a secure method of transmitting data over the public Internet as if the user were working on a local area network (LAN).
The VPN will be used by members of IBM's PartnerWorld for Developers programme, said Tim Robinson, a technical consultant in IBM developer relations. The normal course of porting applications to IBM's products involves developers flying to Solution Partnership Centres (SPCs) to test their applications, he said.
By using the VPN, said Robinson, developers would not have to travel as much. Added to that, using the VPN to start porting applications to IBM platforms would take days, rather than the weeks it takes to begin using the old method, he said.
Although all applications worked on in the developers programme would be ported to IBM platforms, the VPN will offer clients for the Windows, Linux, Macintosh, and Solaris operating systems, he said.
The new service adds graphical user interfaces and encrypted data transmission to IBM's current iNet Porting service. Robinson said that the costs associated with using the VPN will be the same as the standard testing service.
Robinson expects that as many as 25% to 33% of IBM's current PartnerWorld for Developers members will use the service in 2002. The service is currently available in the US, and will begin worldwide distribution in the first quarter of 2002, Robinson said.