Businesses sceptical about utility computing – IDC

14 February 2003 Many potential customers of utility computing are reluctant to sign up to such services for fear of escalating costs, security breaches and single vendor lock-in, a new survey by analysts IDC has found.

The IDC investigation, which will alarm proponents of the various forms of ‘computing on demand’ initiatives, also discovered evidence of widespread concern among potential customers about the notion of sharing external IT resources with other companies.

Far more popular was the idea of an internal ‘private utility’, in which technologies such as virtualisation and distributed computing are installed on a company’s existing infrastructure. The survey also found that companies’ scepticism would lead them to demand shorter contracts and clearer evidence of massive potential cost savings.

Commenting on the findings, IDC analyst David Tapper said he did not expect spending on utility computing to rise significantly until after 2008.

The survey of 34 enterprises in the US found that IBM, Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and Hewlett-Packard (HP) were among the leading choices for utility computing service providers.

Tapper said that IBM and HP have the most ‘robust’ strategies in utility computing. Over time, there will likely be growing demand for services from Sun Microsystems, Accenture and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), he added.

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