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Chasing the On-Demand Data Center

With Hewlett-Packard's recently launched Adaptive Enterprise initiative, the company is attempting to leverage its merger with Compaq to create integrated, highly flexible IT solutions. The trouble is that not every company is on a level with HP/Compaq.

According to Forrester Research, the adaptive enterprise (otherwise known as utility computing) will cut IT spending in half through Web services, server provisioning, storage virtualization and network route optimization. How? By pooling resources, a more complete utilization will improve people, software and machine efficiencies.

Of course, this will require new products and services to repurpose existing IT infrastructure, which makes vendors drool. And that's why HP, Akamai Technologies, Sun Microsystems and others have autonomic data center stories with happy endings to tell.

I once worked for a company that built its own online transaction-processing business with software developed in-house. It was efficient and ran on inexpensive hardware and software. All was well for about 20 years. Then new owners invested heavily in the latest technologies, dragging IT forward. But it failed to garner the necessary market growth to support such investments. The company closed its doors five years later.

When considering the usefulness of autonomic prescriptions, carefully weigh the benefits against the effort, money and attention diverted from core business functions, which may be working just fine.

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