What is the Intranet and why is it so important? The Intranet is to 1995 what the 3270 PC products were to 1985: the beginning of a new means of doing business using computers. Ten years ago, the majority of networked devices were 3278 and 3279 character-mode terminals that had coaxial cable connections to large SNA networks. Most of these devices have since been replaced by personal computers and local area networks. The Intranet portends a similar revolution in information processing. There are several distinguishing features:
- Uses TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/Internet protocol) for both wide-area and local-area transport of information,
- Uses HTML (hypertext markup language), SMTP (Simple mail transport protocol) and other open Internet-based standards as the means of moving information from clients to servers,
- Is completely owned by the corporation and not accessible from the Internet-at-large by the general public, and
- Is managed by IS with a similar set of tools, attitudes and procedures as they currently manage their legacy VTAM networks.
Let's review each of these features in detail, and describe the trends leading up to the widespread use of the Intranet.