Computing as a Utility, courtesy IBM

The vision of computing as a utility is becoming real. IBM has launched a service called called Linux Virtual Services. Writes the WSJ:

It will allow customers to run a wide variety of their own software applications on mainframes in the Armonk, N.Y., company’s data centers and pay rates based largely on the amount of computing power they use.

Under the IBM plan, companies that have applications, such as a database, can move the applications to the new service. The applications would run in an IBM data center on an IBM zSeries mainframe running hundreds of virtual Linux servers at the same time. IBM says such virtual servers don’t interfere with each other and provide as much security as physically separate servers would.

IBM will charge customers about $300 a month for what it calls a “service unit.” Three service units are equal to the computer power of a midrange Intel Corp. server. Since a single-processor mid-range Intel server costs less than $5,000, the IBM offering doesn’t make sense on the basis of purchasing cost alone.

Adds “The service is one of the clearest examples of the move toward “utility computing,” a trend that IBM rivals Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems are also advocating. By pooling large numbers of servers connected over the Internet, these computing companies envision a future in which customers don’t have to worry about the headaches of administering complicated computers, just as they don’t have to know how to run a power plant today.”

Good concept — something I have written about in the past (SME Tech Utility). The opportunity lies in emerging markets, and with the utility having a distribution point on the enterprise LAN.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.