The next-generation of the internet needs a layer of intelligent nodes and services, said Intel chief technology officer Pat Gelsinger.
Gelsinger, during his concluding address at the Intel Developer Forum, described a future internet where millions of new devices and users place a strain on the network.
Intel's vision for addressing those concerns involves the deployment of Intel-based servers as network nodes that can handle more complex tasks such as dynamic traffic routing and advanced security.
Intel has already deployed 440 nodes at 194 sites around the globe under its PlanetLab initiative, he said. PlanetLab is an industry research association that counts companies such as Intel, Hewlett-Packard, France Télécom and Google among its members.
Through virtualisation technology, a variety of network services could share those computing resources, Gelsinger said. For example, Intel showcased a service built by graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley, called the Public Health of the Internet (PHI).
Intel used PHI to analyse attacks on the PlanetLab network over a period of time, and discovered that the top 10 sources of attacks on the network accounted for 60% of the overall attack-related traffic, Gelsinger said. PHI can identify the IP addresses of those attackers and share that information with corporations, helping to cut down the amount of traffic caused by worms and viruses, he said.
The PlanetLab initiative would not replace the existing routers and switches that make up the backbone of the internet, Gelsinger said. Instead, it would provide an additional layer that would sit above the existing network to handle what Intel calls "planetary-scale services" such as PHI or grid computing, he said.
An initiative like this requires a great deal of computing power, and that's where Intel comes in, Gelsinger said. A network with vast computing resources could allocate those resources where they are most required and automatically detect problems with that network, he said.
Intel and HP believe that a business opportunity exists within the PlanetLab project and the two companies plan to start commercialising the technology very soon, Gelsinger said.
Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service