Jini: Bottled up no more?

When Sun Microsystems announced the Jini adaptive network architecture in the mid-'90s, to many people it was just one of the numerous Java-oriented technologies vying for developer mind share.

As Web services and Grid computing schemes have risen into view, Jini has gained renewed interest due to its service-oriented capabilities, which could mesh nicely with these new architectures, and because it has had a chance to mature.

Proud Jini parent Sun recently reported on some successes for the technology. Dynamic networking is the watch word for a series of design wins at a European tourist bureau, a healthcare concern that links medical data and equipment, and a law enforcement application that allows cross-jurisdictional information sharing.

The value of this style of computer networking, according to Jennifer Kotzen, Jini product marketing manager at Sun, has become more clearly understood by more people.

Moreover, "it can be used in a wider range of applications than people originally thought," she added. Too, the nature of an ad hoc network, an application style at which Jini was intended to excel, is now becoming more familiar.

"It lets me build systems that continue to run even as new components are added or moved about," explained Kotzen.

These components are application-level services. "They could be drivers or objects," she said, giving an amortization calculator object as an example.

The onslaught of Grid and Web services has only served to enhance the Jini value proposition, Kotzen indicated.

People are using Jini with Grid, she said. Grid means a lot of nodes. With a lot of nodes, the likelihood of one node being down becomes very real. Partial failure is a constant, and Jini's inherent node-independence finds favor.

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About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.


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