Saturday, September 02, 2006

Is Utility Computing the Best Green Alternative?

Utility Computing has been with us for a while, in fact since 1961. The idea is to sell 'cycles as a service'; just strap a meter onto a server and then the user pays for whatever computer time they use. It is much like any other utility such as gas, electric, cable, etc.

But is it green? Certainly Sun thinks so. Cassatt, a leading provider of management software for these types of installations, seems to head in this direction. Here are some bullets from their brochure:

  • On average, 90% of IT resources in major data centers sit idle, which translates into millions of dollars in unused assets.
  • Data center space and power requirements are running at maximum capacity or pushing
  • beyond because so much hardware is needed to maintain required service levels.
  • As much as 90% of IT budgets are spent on “keeping the lights on,” leaving very little money for implementing new ideas that could help with competitive differentiation.
  • IT organizations are constantly playing catch-up with the ever-increasing demand for
  • improved service levels from their business applications.
  • Even with the dramatic capital expenditure savings realized by low-cost hardware, and
  • moving from RISC/SMP to small commodity servers, IT organizations are not able to make substantial cost reductions.
  • Capital savings are completely off set by increases in operational costs.
Not much to argue with here, although I would go with 80% of hardware being wasted, and 80% of the typical IT budget being used to 'keep the lights on'. Utility computing is clearly a efficiency driven technology which will definitely translate into a better environment and maybe some social responsibiliy as well. Could be a big part of the puzzle.

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