Users fail to understand utility computing

Many vendors are beginning to tout the utility computing in the Middle East, whereby users can purchase capacity on demand. However, local users are having difficulty getting to grips with model, let alone implementing it.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  August 27, 2003

While users may not fully understand how electricity gets to their PCs or water to their taps, they accept that these things will be there because they are a utility.

Unlikely as it seems, this kind of delivery is now being touted for IT and a number of the industry's large vendors, including HP and IBM, are promoting a vision of the flexible IT infrastructure that enables businesses to purchase capacity on demand.

Furthermore, rather than being confined to just niche areas of IT, advocates of utility computing believe it can be applied to anything ranging from CPUs and storage through to software.

HP, for instance, is already touting its Adaptive Enterprise strategy within the Middle East, while Big Blue firmly believes real world usage of the model is just around the corner.

“We are moving towards e-sourcing, where the customer gets it [IT] done in a standard way,” says Siamak Kia, regional manager of e-hosting and strategic outsourcing, IBM Global Services, Middle East, Egypt & Pakistan.

“We are seeing a lot of interest in infrastructure on demand, even in this region, and especially for things like bandwidth where companies need to be flexible,” he adds.

Stratos Sarissamlis, international vice president with Meta Group’s service management strategies service, confirms that computing on demand is the next step. He also says that certain technologies that help facilitate this model are already available today.

“Although we don’t have on demand computing yet, companies like HP, Sun, and IBM are working on the technology aspect, and some of it is being released in a piecemeal fashion,” Sarissamlis explains.

However, before the vendors’ enthusiasm for utility computing translates into implementations, it appears as though a serious education process is called for. Evidence of this comes from an itp.net spot poll, which revealed that 57% of the region’s users don't even understand it.

Meta Group supports this view, claiming that few businesses will embrace the utility computing paradigm until 2006, due to low market awareness of both the technology and the fundamental shift in IT management and purchasing the utility model requires.

“Companies are just learning about these computing models, they are not moving there,” confirms Corey Ferungul, vice president of operations strategies at Meta Group.

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