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Opinion: Everybody In The Pool

At some distant date in the future, the leading companies in this industry expect to make on-demand computing a reality. Today, what we mostly have is capacity on demand, where we can overdeploy computing resources and dynamically provision additional server capacity when required.

But that is a far cry from the vision of dynamic computing resources put forward by the likes of IBM. In that vision, a set of servers will be able to dynamically apply computing resources across any given set of application requirements. So hardware will be more efficiently applied and managed, driving server utilization rates up from a paltry 25 percent to a more robust 90 percent or even 100 percent.

The only problem with the IBM vision of on-demand computing is the timeline and, quite possibly, the company that is actually going to deliver on that vision first. Azul Systems next week plans to make available a family of systems that create a pool of computing resources that can be dynamically reallocated across any set of J2EE or Microsoft .Net applications.

The applications continue to run on an existing Unix or Windows 2000 server. But as the applications grow, IT organizations can make use of processors in the Azul system by invoking them across the network, instead of buying more servers. Once those Azul processors are no longer needed, they can be dynamically redeployed to support another application on the network.

The Azul systems are based on proprietary processors developed over the last three years. Led by Stephen DeWitt, who founded Cobalt Networks and the later sold that company to Sun Microsystems, Azul aspires to do nothing less than commoditize the server space.

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