Here comes "computing as a utility" ­– what IBM calls "on-demand computing" and HP called the "adaptive enterprise." Whatever you call it, its focus is on automated management of various components of the information technology (IT) infrastructure, and "it" is definitely on the way. It involves dynamic resource management, reallocating and repurposing resources where they are needed most to meet changing business requirements. Computing as a utility will forever change the way IT is viewed. Perhaps this different view of IT started with author Nicholas G. Carr and his controversial article entitled "IT Doesn't Matter" that was published in the May 2003 issue of Harvard Business Review. Or maybe it started with one of the technology research analyst firms' vision into the future of computing. Whatever started it, it is here to stay.

What is driving this move toward computing as a utility? Three things are driving this move. First, the cost of computing today is too high. The costs of separate, non-standard and non- interoperable components are fundamentally higher than costs of components that can be shared. Also, think about the ability to share peaks and valleys in capacity utilization, and its potential to drive costs down. Second, there is an increasing need for business flexibility ­– the ability to quickly respond to market changes. The complexity of the IT infrastructure today prohibits the quick and easy implementation of a change in business priorities, and business is now simply demanding a change. Third, there is a need for improved, consistent service levels. Service levels need to be higher, predictable and stable. Again, the complexity and fragility of today's IT infrastructure makes guaranteeing improved service levels risky business indeed. Things obviously need to change.

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