EIU: Executives bullish on utility computing

By Rebecca Reid, ITWorldCanada.com |  On-demand Software

The concept of utility computing has seeped from the IT department into the boardroom.

Approximately 43 percent of executives surveyed by the London, England-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) plan to implement utility computing in the next two years, EIU announced Thursday. Comparatively, about 25 percent of respondents said their companies already have utility computing while another 43 percent have no plans to deploy it. The study, entitled Self-managing networks: Building the infrastructure for utility computing, was commissioned by AT&T Corp.

EIU questioned 254 senior executives from around the world from 20 different industries. Forty-percent from Europe, 27 percent from North America, 21 percent from Asia-Pacific, eight percent from Latin America, three percent from Middle East and Asia and one percent from elsewhere. The survey was geared towards C-level executives to see how their perceptions impact technology strategy, said Andrew Palmer, global director of executive services for EIU in London.

Only five percent of those surveyed were CIOs, CTOs and chief knowledge officers. The rest were senior executives or board members.

Back in the 1990s, companies spent a lot of money on IT. Now companies have more capacity than they need, Palmer said. Unix servers and Intel-based servers are commonly being used at only about 10 percent capacity and by migrating to a utility computing strategy, organizations can better use their network infrastructure, he added.

Now, firms are using IP technologies to consolidate their systems and get more computing power out of their technology investment, Palmer said. But these companies still have a ways to go before utility computing becomes a reality.

A good portion of respondents don't consider their companies' networks to be well-equipped enough to take on business challenges over the next two years. Forty-seven percent said their network is well-equipped for some of the business challenges, 11 percent said they were only equipped for a few and four percent said their network was not well-equipped.

In comparison, six percent said their networks were well-equipped while 32 percent said their networks were well-equipped for most of the business challenges they face.

The top six networking wants of executives surveyed include the need to ensure better network security, ensure better network reliability and availability, handle greater volumes of data traffic, increase the speed of data delivery, facilitate sharing of information with outside entities and integrate multiple systems and applications.

These differ from the top technology-related goals of respondents. The top three include the ability to access the network remotely, with 66 percent, followed by the ability to analyze, store and act up on customer data at 60 percent and 24x7 business continuity at 60 percent, Palmer said.

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