Extending Online Communities through Virtual Parrallell Systems

Extending Online Communities through Virtual Parrallell Systems

Chu Jong (Illinois State University, USA) and Pruthikrai Mahatanankoon (Illinois State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 5
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-563-4.ch040
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Abstract

Internet technology has extended human social interactions across geographical boundaries. Using information and communication technology (ICT) as ways to establish social relationships (Palmer, 1998), virtual communities (VCs) provide the means for people to communicate and to store and share information for various social meetings regardless of time and distance. VCs offer a variety of social interactions ranging from casual and leisure activities to strictly business-related transactions. Many online retail stores use message boards as ways for customers to share information and ideas with other customers. Online forums and chat rooms provide discussion and support facilities for any interest group imaginable from cooking and gardening to stocks and politics. The value of VCs derives from various functions being delivered. Armstrong and Hagel (1996) suggest that the success of virtual communities rely on the ability to meet “multiple social and commercial needs.” To facilitate these needs, online communities generally charge their members minimal fees, either for usage, content, or advertising. The goals are to generate revenue and in some cases cover the operating expenses. However, with new evolutional VCs such as virtual museums, virtual libraries, virtual organizations, and telemedicine, the operating costs for providing such services can be tremendous. VCs require significant investment in their infrastructures, which can be reduced by implementing an enhanced parallel p-split mechanism on their existing servers. The goal of this article is to introduce new practical ideas to manage VCs by focusing on the underlying hardware and software infrastructures that support virtual operations. The structure of this article includes (1) an introduction to the functions and services that a VC system should have and its potential growth, and (2) the concept and basic mechanisms of the p-split with the benefit of using p-split to generate virtual servers. This article then summarizes the current progress and provides an outline for the future VC system research. The appendix provides some technical aspects in terms of the software module and system overheads of the p-split.

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