On-Demand Computing: Centralized Utilities Or Temporary Hotel Stay?

from the a-little-of-both... dept

Ah, the metaphors. Britton Manasco is noticing that both sides of the debate over “on-demand” computing are trotting out metaphors of what’s going to happen. Nicholas Carr, who has a book to sell, is claiming that the drive to on-demand computing is the same as the inevitable centralization of utility power (someone should tell Carr that the recent trend is actually to go back to decentralized power plants). Meanwhile, SAP, who has software to sell, is claiming that on-demand computing is like moving to a new city. You may stay in a hotel room for a little while until you’re set up in your new house — but staying their too long doesn’t make sense and is way too expensive. Of course, they’re both probably right to some extent, and are both exaggerating their claims to some extent. There are cases where utility-based computing will make more sense, and there are cases where companies will be better off running things in-house. Either extreme view is likely to be wrong. If anything, we’ll see the usual pendulum that drifts back and forth between centralized and decentralized computing. The history of computing over the past fifty years or so, shows that people overhype one view, then the other, and then shift back around again. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. The smart company and the smart IT staff figures out the best way to solve the problems they are facing — and doesn’t get caught up in the debate over how the world will end up.

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