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Gates' amusing view of utility computing

In response to the Newsmakers interview of Bill Gates by Jai Singh: "Bill Gates: Unplugged":

Your interview with Bill Gates was instructional, as always. I did find his insight into utility computing amusing--in particular how he likens information technology to the "brain" of a company, and how you don't want to outsource the brain.

Strange, but in every company I've worked for, the executives are the "brains" of the company, and IT is just a means to accomplish business objectives. I emphatically agree with Gates in that every company should be able to evaluate outsource/nonoutsource options and to know when one is appropriate over the other. This is the job of the chief information officer.

I haven't seen a compelling view of utility computing from any reputable vendor solely linking computing as a utility to just an outsourced solution; most organizations I know engaged in this dialogue are defining utility computing as a compute model that necessarily has to encompass a complete solution, including outsourced solutions, to deliver cost-effective computing strategies.

Gates'--along with every buzzword bingo player's--problem is that he is trying to see utility computing as a product other companies are selling, versus a holistic compute model technical advances may be allowing today. In this regard, he's right: Nobody is selling utility computing today.

I can understand where Gates is coming from though: Who wants to endorse a passing fad? I remember sitting in front of a VAX (Virtual Address Extension) terminal a while ago, waiting for this Windows thing to come and go...

Joe Kwak
San Jose, Calif.