By Matthew Southwell
Although the computing as a service model has been frequently talked about, it has yet to truly appear. However, analysts at IDC suggest that this may be about to change.
The idea of IT as a utility is nothing new. IBM, for instance, has been talking about it for years and in recent times others, such as HP and the application service provider (ASP) community, have also jumped on the bandwagon. The reality has, however, been somewhat different, as end users have continued to invest in mammoth infrastructures and costly hardware.This trend could be about to change though, as the current economic climate has forced organisations to reconsider IT spending and identify areas in which they can rationalise their computing infrastructure. As such, analysts at IDC are predicting that the shift to service centric computing is just around the corner."We expect the idea of service-centric computing — or focusing on IT services and abstracting the complexity out of day-to-day infrastructure operations — to slowly build momentum throughout the next few years,” says John Humphreys, senior research analyst with IDC's Global Enterprise Server Solutions Programme.Fundamentally, the concept of service-centric computing is about shifting the focus from infrastructure to the business services delivered to the user, such as e-mail, supply chain management and so on. In other words, service-centric computing describes the ability to deliver server, storage, and network resources to the business unit or end users in a manner that is fully accountable, metered, and always available irrespective of end-user demands and needs. “The service-centric concept holds deep potential to not only lower the capital and operational costs of a data centre, but also to impart that infrastructure with the increased availability and agility to respond to an ever-changing business environment,” explains Humphreys.“It is this powerful combination of cost reduction and a high-level focus on business services that will ultimately win over users, though we fully expect adoption to be incremental and proceed at a vigilant pace," he adds.