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Business and IT are two distinct disciplines. In most enterprises, they are also interdependent but not necessarily cooperative. Cloud service management decisions need both business and technical input to be made wisely. Cloud utility computing is a significant change to the way IT works. A thorough understanding of what utilities are and how they work is required by both business and IT because they influence many decisions. The development of electrical and other utilities is frequently compared to the development of utility computing. Their similarities and differences help explain the value and difficulty of cloud computing.
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Changing your cell-phone provider is difficult, because the providers have an interest in keeping their existing customers. However, the difficulties are far less than the obstacles to switching your brand of printer and continuing to use the supply of print cartridges for your old printer.
A prominent proponent of this theory is Nicholas Carr, whose article “IT Doesn’t Matter” ( Harvard Business Review, May 2003, http://www.nicholascarr.com/?page_id=99 ) has provoked a great deal of discussion, both for and against his proposition, since it was published in 2003. Carr included all aspects of computing in his prediction that most enterprises would outsource their current IT activities to computing utility providers, which is more than simply outsourcing computing.
Nicholas Crafts, “The Solow Productivity Paradox in Historical Perspective” (CEPR Discussion Paper 3142, London: Centre for Economic Policy Research, January 2002), http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/1673/ . This paper presents a rigorous discussion of the consequences of adopting electricity and compares it to computer adoption.
Ohm’s Law is a basic electrical principle that states that voltage is directly proportional to amperage and resistance. Most people learn Ohm’s law through an analogy with water in a pipe. The resistance corresponds to the diameter of the pipe, the voltage corresponds to the pressure, and the amperage corresponds to the volume of water that flows. If the pressure is increased, the water flowing will increase. If diameter of the pipe is decreased, the pressure must be increased to get the same volume. This analogy is excellent because it leads to an intuitive understanding of one aspect of electricity and is used frequently for teaching Ohm’s Law.
If the standard is backward compatible, a drive built to an older standard can plug into a system built to a newer standard. If the standard is forward compatible, a drive built to a new standard can be plugged into a system built to an older standard.
These virtual computers are usually called virtual machines (VMs) or virtual systems (VSs). The Java VM referred to above is a VM that runs on operating systems rather than a hypervisor.
The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) standard— Cloud Infrastructure Management Interface (CIMI)—is an example of such standardization ( http://dmtf.org/standards/cmwg ). See my book Cloud Standards for discussions of many standards that contribute to IT and clouds in particular.
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