The SELFMAN project, an initiative among seven European universities, seeks to build Internet applications that manage, tune, and fix themselves. And they’re not too far down the road. When these apps do arrive, they’ll make the lives of IT personnel a lot less nerve-racking.
According to ReadWriteWeb, a Web app needs to manage itself in four ways: configuration, performance tuning, healing, and defense. Self-configuration is relatively easy, compared to the rest of the tasks; it involves making sure that all components of an app are up-to-date. Tuning, by contrast, involves using a load-balancing algorithm to make sure that every node on the network is performing optimally.
The most difficult task is self-protection, which requires the app to recognize abnormal behavior and to isolate nodes on its network accordingly.
SELFMAN technology has been implemented twice so far. One was an experimental implementation of Wikipedia, built on eight servers by the Zuse Institute in Berlin. Called Scalaris, the project shows how Wikipedia could respond to exponential increases in traffic and serve its data even faster.
A second project, PeerTV, shows how a SELFMAN system can automatically evaluate new user-build components for compatibility or malware.