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On-Demand Computing: A New Paradigm

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When an organization as big as IBM stakes its future on a new approach to computing (called on-demand computing), we all should take note. Microsoft did the same thing when it bet the farm on its launch of Windows back in the 1990s. The main element of on-demand computing uses the IT infrastructure of today as a foundation for a more powerful model. Stephen Morris looks beyond the marketing hype to explore this model and what it might mean for IT workers.
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Few would disagree that software and systems are now overly complex and costly to operate. However, the state of IT play is a testament to the success of previous generations of technologists. In a way, IT has become a victim of its own success! On-demand computing (ODC) offers a compelling model for taking the existing state of IT and upgrading it into a more solid platform for the future. [1]

Flexible, scalable, open standards, and self-managing are some of the key attributes that mark ODC as an interesting approach to computing. If the ODC project is successful, it should deliver that holy grail of computing: simple systems.

Broadcast Becomes Narrowcast

On-demand computing provides a means for a new type of business transformation in which IT will be led by business policies. This is not a new concept, but it would considerably change both the business and IT landscapes.

It's important for us to investigate what this might mean for IT work in these volatile times. I believe that one of the biggest changes we'll see in the next five years relates to network service access from small, resource-constrained devices such as mobile phones and PDAs. Both content providers and service providers will roll out dozens of new and innovative services as the world moves ever closer to a narrowcast model. Narrowcasting will take us beyond the traditional one-size-fits-all approach of broadcasting and toward a more customized, subscription-based model. The signs indicate that this is already happening; for example, as more and more video-based web sites spring up for a growing range of sports. Narrowcast web sites can operate for a fraction of what's required for broadcast TV.

ODC provides a means for this move to a narrowcast model precisely because it builds a solid foundation. But IBM is pitching ODC at pretty much all industries, not just broadcast or telecom. Let's take a look at it then!

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