Inside and Out

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2004-02-16 Print this article Print

Inside and Out

Many IT buyers believe that utility computing implies an outsource relationship with a computing service provider. However, the utility model can be equally well applied to owned IT assets.

"The most common model is that a business unit has a service it wants to deploy, it calculates the amount of infrastructure that it needs to achieve the level of service that it needs, and the IT department inherits that and winds up with a hodgepodge that later needs a consolidation project," said David Nelson-Gal, Suns vice president of N1 and availability products, in Santa Clara, Calif. "Businesses need to evolve to the point that the IT department delivers service levels and charges back to the business units for capital based on service delivery."

Dave Roberts, Inkra Networks Corp.s co-founder and vice president of strategy, in Fremont, Calif., boiled down the utility concept in similar terms: "You take virtualization [technology], add on-demand [manageability], add charging [business infrastructure], and thats utility," Roberts said.

Enterprise buyers are driven by the economics, not the technology, of utility computing.

Utility approaches "will fuel the growth of scalable services," said eWEEK Corporate Partner Michael Skaff, manager of IT for digital media network builder AdSpace Networks Inc., in Burlingame, Calif. "Resources that were previously locked up elsewhere can be redirected, and companies will be able to further specialize in their core competencies and purchase peripheral functionality as a service."

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel