Computerworld has an article up about a big announcement made yesterday (April 2. 2008) jointly by Linden Lab and IBM.
This is very big news indeed. Here’s a quote from the article:
“The announcement, made Wednesday, marks the first time a portion of the Second Life Grid will operate behind corporate firewalls, the two companies said. IBM and Linden plan to demonstrate hosting regions of the Second Life Grid operating behind IBM’s firewall at the Virtual Worlds 2008 conference that begins today in New York.”
It appears that this is just being piloted by IBM at this time, so when it might be available for other corporations and schools is unknown. This definitely is a big step for Linden Lab, one that I’ve been promoting here on this blog for the past year (distributed grids).
The article states that IBM employees will be able to move freely between their corporate grid and the main Second Life grid. This would imply that there’s a central asset database that the corporate grid links back to. How that plays with intellectual property and security remains to be seen. Hopefully, the assets are hosted in separate databases and only those tagged for certain grids pass between. And if this is aimed at corporate users, being able to freely move between corporate and public may not exactly be a selling point.
“The goal is to let IBM employees use one Second Life client interface to access public and private spaces in the virtual world, the companies said. As a result, employees can create content internally, chat and instant message while staying connected to all the content housed in Second Life.”
This quote seems to indicate that all the communications with the main grid are intact while on a corporate grid. That probably also will not be a huge selling point with many corporations. Let’s hope there’s a superset of the estate tools included in this new system.
I am sure that more details will emerge in the not too distant future (maybe in coverage from the Virtual Worlds 2008 conference where this was announced). This is one we will all have to keep a close eye on.