Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A market to buy just in time computer services

I quote from a recent article in The Economist:
In the electricity business, it was the invention of something called the “rotary converter” and other transformers that led to the rise of the power utility. It allowed power from different generators to be pooled and distributed over the grid. The analogous technology in cloud computing is virtualisation. This separates software from hardware, allowing many programs to run on any machine, and indeed to switch between them. Although hardware stays in one place, “virtual machines” consuming processing power can jump around, even between far-flung data centres. Virtualisation has also given rise to big “cloud providers”, which offer computing power on demand, such as Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of the eponymous online-shopping giant.

It took decades for electrical power to become a tradable commodity. Computing seems to be getting there faster. Standards bodies are working on rules that would make it easier to move virtual machines around, and a raft of start-ups are making this their business.

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