The rise of utility computing

JOHANNESBURG (03/17/2004) - With all of the major international ICT players investing tens of billions of dollars in on-demand computing, the vision of only paying for the ICT resources actually used -- like water or electricity -- looks set to become a reality for corporate South Africa (SA).

Cor Fawell, executive consultant for strategic solutions at Comparex Africa (Pty) Ltd., says, "We are seeing ICT service providers begin to equip themselves to provide on-demand or utility-based computing to the business community. They themselves are looking to cut costs, by paying only for the ICT resources actually consumed by their customers, instead of making huge capital investments in under-utilized servers, databases, application solutions, storage and network capacity designed to meet occasional maximum demand."

According to Fawell, the key business driver for introducing utility computing is to reduce ICT operational costs by tying costs to business volumes. The key technology drivers are better utilization of ICT resources and increased responsiveness and flexibility in infrastructure changes. "This major development will go a long way towards restoring trust in computer providers to actually deliver value to the business," he notes.

Fawell continues, "First adopters of the technology will most likely be banks and other financial service providers, large manufacturers, telecommunications companies and government departments".

He emphasizes that, as evidence of the potential of utility-based computing to reduce or even remove total cost of ownership issues increases, clients' enthusiasm for the concept will shift from academic to accepting nothing less than full computing on-demand.

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