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Sun's Computing 'Utility' Is More Like Equipment Rental

An article in Intelligent Enterprise Magazine caught my eye.  Susana Schwartz' article expresses for me that nagging set of thoughts I have every time I drive past the electronic billboard on the Bayshore Freeway that advertises Sun's "utility computing services -- grid computing at $1.00 an hour".   It's computer rental, not utility computing.  It's clusters, not grids.

Link: Sun's Computing 'Utility' Is More Like Equipment Rental.

"True utility computing would allow us to dynamically accommodate computing needs for multiple departments across multiple lines of business, without additional hardware purchases or maintenance costs," says Whit Stockwell, CTO of Genalytics, which uses genetic algorithms to expedite modeling for marketing and risk management. While Sun's "utility" launch piqued his interest — Genalytics develops in Java — Stockwell didn't buy in because, he says, utility computing has to mean more than just adding capacity for peak usage times.

Sometimes claims of "utility computing," such as Sun's, turn out to be nothing more than cluster computing. True utility computing requires the ability to respond quickly to need. That entails having grid software that's sufficiently intelligent to match customer service-level agreements with spikes in computing needs, so computational power is sought out automatically and without advance notice.

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