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HP plans new utility computing services

HP plans new utility computing services

Hewlett-Packard plans to unveil new utility computing services Tuesday and tout its research efforts in the area.

Utility computing means a different things to different people, but generally involves paying for computer processing power as it's consumed. Sometimes that means switching on new capacity in a server when it's needed, in this case, it likely involves tapping into servers run by HP.

Two HP executives are scheduled to speak: Brian Fowler will discuss HP's new Flexible Computing Services, and Karen Walker talk about a collaboration HP Services and HP Labs involving high-performance computing. HP is competing with rivals Sun Microsystems and IBM for high-performance computing services in which customers can rent out the server makers' machines. DreamWorks is one customer, using HP servers for the later stages of digital animation.

Executives from DreamWorks and oil and gas services company Schlumberger will be at the event.

Schlumberger has been involved in utility computing in the past. Subsidiary SchlumbergerSema launched a utility computing partnership in 2003 with Sun in 2003 in which it would rent out Sun servers to customers in energy, finance, telecommunications and the government.

Oil and gas companies also have been interested in utility computing to handle peak computing demands for seismic data processing tasks, work that generates three-dimensional models of oil and gas fields.

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