IBM says it's investing $US10 Billion in it, some $US800 million of that in this slow-tech year alone. And that's largely for "education" (okay, hype) to convince managers in every corner of the IT universe (one would assume) that this is the Real McCoy. And they're just one of the proponents.
Could it really be the long-awaited be-all and end-all to every computing problem you've ever even imagined? Actually, yes, it could. And that would make it much bigger than even IBM and all their 800-pound gorilla cronies combined.
It's Utility computing - buying only the amount of computing you need, like plugging into the electrical grid. It's been long talked about and, if you now believe the promises, almost, just almost, upon us.
Doesn't ring a bell yet? Well, it will, as the "education" process builds steam. Then again, some may already be hearing a scattering of terms with a similar ring, as other industry players jockey for position to attach their own monikers to this next big thing.
IBM's version, which is getting more attention because of all that money behind it, is called "On-Demand Computing", along with an oft-heard variant, "E-Business on Demand".
But that's just the beginning of the buzzword parade. Many other terms are beginning to be put forth with considerable vigour by various IT vendors and the usual analysts, all to describe what really amounts to much the same thing, or key parts of the same puzzle.
So, if you're confused, that wouldn't be surprising. Which is why we thought we'd take a look at this utility computing concept - really quite a simple one - and see if we can help you cut through the confusion and understand why you may really need it.
The utility computing concept carries this threefold promise:
- It will simplify IT, as in reducing or masking complexity
- It will turn IT from a fixed to a variable cost
- And it will cut the biggest cost culprit of all: operating expenses
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