The term utility computing has been around for some time. In some respects the timesharing systems of the 1970’s fit this model. As with many things the notion of utility computing was before it’s time. It was born of necessity but never really realized its full potential as is often the case when imagination and reality collide. Is it time? Is it back? Or is it gone forever?
Fast forward 30 or 40 years and we find ourselves quite literally with our heads in the clouds. In many ways cloud computing is a utility computing model, but it too is still a constrained one.
There are several kinds of utilities … I often hear of utility computing compared with electricity or water. You flip the switch, use what you need when you need it and pay the bill when it arrives. Pretty simple but flawed when applied to computing. The electric company is special, it is a monopoly and there is little question you need electricity. Utility computing, and the cloud today, isn’t that way at all. You have choices and can choose to live without it if you so choose…. Generating your own power so to speak and providing your own power is more like a traditional system buy for instance. Some will prefer to do this, but going forward it will be the minority.
There are more modern utility models that perhaps fit … I look at the way I purchase communications today and the programs that keep me in current technology that serve both my needs and the needs of the utility.
For instance when I purchase cellular service today I have options…. I can buy a phone at retail, pay a monthly service charge and have no obligations other than to pay for what I use. I could choose to purchase my phone at a discount if I’m willing to commit to a contract of a year or two. If I choose the contract the provider is often willing to ‘give’ me a technology refresh so often to keep me current and to keep me as their customer.
ClearPath offers business models that fit this type of model well. There have been Pay-For-Use business models based on metering technology available for some time that allow either pre-paid or pay as you go. And even with the traditional business model there are Capacity on Demand options. The recent ClearPath Cloud offerings expand the options to allow short duration pay for use models especially suited for development and test. Going forward expect to see expansion of ClearPath Cloud offerings to include production environments as well. Another interesting notion is that of a private cloud offering … the ability for you to set up your own internal utility to serve your internal development and test needs.
To answer the leading question, I think utility computing is alive and well with a rich set of offerings available for ClearPath clients today … what do you think?