IDC: Users not sold on utility computing

IDC: Users not sold on utility computing

Only seven per cent of Australian enterprises plan to implement utility computing as a preferred IT model, IDC has found.

The research firm's figure derives from a recent buying behaviour and trends study, which also highlighted vendor and end-user confusion over exactly what utility computing is.

IDC outsourcing and BPO market analyst, Aprajita Sharma, said the problem was that enterprises were not being presented with a unified message from vendors.

"We are seeing all these different terminologies for utility computing but there still has to be a lot of education for the end-user," she said.

According to IDC, the IT provisioning model offers organisations a potentially better way to manage their costs by letting them pay only for the IT they use.

But as many IT environments remained complex, vendors should be taking the preliminary step of getting information and data in the one place so a whole view of the business was available before trying to sell them a utility computing offering, Sharma said.

"The first thing vendors need to do is start talking about standardisation and virtualisation of resources," she said.

"Many companies in the marketplace don't even know what assets they own. Unless you have a single view of their infrastructure and data, there is no way to successfully implement a utility computing model."

Sharma said integrators and resellers had the opportunity to work with end-users in a professional services capacity, advising customers on consolidation of their IT assets as a step toward moving to utility computing.

"If a company has 10 different versions of one application and can look at just the one version, then it has moved toward standardisation and consolidation," she said.

"Integrators can help companies look at virtualisation of servers or storage to effectively have a single view of their data."

Integrators could also begin educating customers and selling the benefits of the model based on increased business scalability and flexibility, Sharma said.

"Companies used to have five- or 10-year deals for infrastructure with a particular vendor and it was really hard for them to move to another manufacturer if they were unhappy," she said.

"Imagine the same companies, five years from now, with a utility model. If they are not satisfied with their vendor they can simply go out and get another one."

Sharma conceded migrating data to another vendor would still be a challenge for companies under the utility model. However, competition would probably be increased, Sharma said.

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