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Will computing flow like electricity?

News.com's Martin Lamonica surveys several industry executives on whether they believe that computing will eventually flow like electricity.

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News.com's Martin Lamonica surveys several industry executives on whether they believe that computing will eventually flow like electricity. The consensus is that "utility" computing will work for some applications and companies, but won't become a pervasive driver of IT transformation overnight. Charles Giancarlo, Cisco CTO, said, "We think (utility computing) makes sense for some small and medium-size businesses. But for large businesses, the decision to host applications outside or inside of the network depends on many different factors, including cost and network efficiency," said Giancarlo. "Some of the largest companies can run their own applications much cheaper and more efficiently than any utility computing provider."  

Martin is playing off of Nick Carr's article, "The End of Corporate Computing," in which the author argues that the shift from IT as a fragmented capital asset to a centralized utility service will create far more upheaval than the introduction of the PC and the Internet did in past decades. I blogged about Carr's article back in April, mostly agreeing with him that computing will eventually flow like electricity but not until cultural and economic barriers (accepting the fact that many IT functions can be better delivered as services and the cost savings are obvious. Whether utility computing is viewed historically as more significant than the PC or the Internet should be left to the historians. On the other hand, those who fail to gear up culturally and technically for utility computing in the next few years will end up at a competitive disadvantage...