January 09, 2006
Although it's still very early on, outsourcing, software as a service, "pay as you go" and subscription licensing models point to a broad, long-term change in the technology market and the way IT services are purchased. The desire to better align business practices with IT deployment and to automate processes suggests that enterprises will change the way they buy IT services in the long term. Utility models imply several things: an ability to move from cost centers to computational utilities run on a commercial basis; links to external service providers for peak loads; the ability to move non-core assets off the balance sheet once IT resources are logically consolidated; and paying only for resources actually consumed.
Accessing compute resources and data without having to own the computers isn't a new idea. But accessing resources that are hosted or managed by third parties is only one part of the utility computing story. Many of the larger early enterprise adopters are developing in-house IT utilities -- with utility -style access and charge-back mechanisms. Some are additionally considering the use of external resources for specific projects, but in-house utilities are fundamentally where most of the action is today.
Nevertheless, a vision for the future of computing services based on the utility model is taking shape. On one side are ASPs, MSPs and outsourcing and hosting companies. On another are telcos and service providers, seeking roles as trusted providers of enterprise IT services. Meanwhile, the major IT vendors have redrawn their strategies to suggest that the ability to provide IT resources and services on an as-needed basis is the industry's future.
It's entirely reasonable -- given the loaded expectations being driven by IT- vendor marketing -- that enterprise early adopters should therefore want to procure and pay for their IT in different ways and indeed look forward to the day when the use of computers matches the ease of other everyday appliances and utilities.
From the enterprise customer's point of view, the business logic of metering usage is compelling: you only pay for what you use. This is brought sharply into view when considering that the use and procurement of computing services is increasingly driven by economies of scale and the effective utilization of resources. But moving from ownership to utility will still require some insight. Early adopters are going to want a way to determine the likely cost to them when the meter is turned on.
From a supplier perspective, development around utility concepts is being played out in two areas: public utilities (HP Flexible Computing Service, IBM On Demand Supercomputing Centers, Sun Grid Compute Utility) and technologies to support internally shared/datacenter utilities.
Role of Grids
Most IT vendors and enterprise early adopters that The 451 Group has spoken with see grids, and the attributes that give Grid computing its meaning -- virtualization, resource reallocation, automation and self-management -- as providing a technology underpinning for new kinds of IT procurement, delivery and usage models, the most evident of which are SOAs and utility models. As Grid computing becomes important, it may also become more transparent. By the time it is important, it will be called something else -- utility computing, SOA or datacenter automation, for example.
As far as utility models are concerned, there are a number of ways in which grids are being applied. Grids enable a new model of internal service provisioning, where the IT provider bills early adopters -- a company's own departments, and perhaps suppliers or customers, as well. Enterprise early adopters may be able to earn back some charges by making resources available for use on the grid. Because this activity is all happening over the Internet, these resources could just as well be supplied all or in part by an external hosting vendor or in some hybrid arrangement.
For a number of enterprise early adopters that we have spoken with anecdotally, bare-metal resources are not what they are looking for. They are seeking providers that can supply capacity plus the application for a single price, and without the enterprise having to take care of the licensing. Fluent contracts for difference trading have been mentioned several times by early adopters. It is an approach already being offered by Savvis with Oracle instances, for example. Early indications show the following issues are key to users:
May 23, 2013 |
The study of climate change is one of those scientific problems where it is almost essential to model the entire Earth to attain accurate results and make worthwhile predictions. In an attempt to make climate science more accessible to smaller research facilities, NASA introduced what they call ‘Climate in a Box,’ a system they note acts as a desktop supercomputer.
May 16, 2013 |
When it comes to cloud, long distances mean unacceptably high latencies. Researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany examined those latency issues of doing CFD modeling in the cloud by utilizing a common CFD and its utilization in HPC instance types including both CPU and GPU cores of Amazon EC2.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/02/2012 | AMD | Developers today are just beginning to explore the potential of heterogeneous computing, but the potential for this new paradigm is huge. This brief article reviews how the technology might impact a range of application development areas, including client experiences and cloud-based data management. As platforms like OpenCL continue to evolve, the benefits of heterogeneous computing will become even more accessible. Use this quick article to jump-start your own thinking on heterogeneous computing.