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IT Will Be A Utility

Created by dave. Last edited by dave, 14 years and 54 days ago. Viewed 2,740 times. #1
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IT Is A Utility

For most companies, IT is just as much a utility as HVAC, electricity, or plumbing is. The difference is that most companies don't keep a team of electricians or plumbers on staff. The basic service comes out of the wall unattended, and you only call in an electrician if you need to make a change.

Now. IT isn't quite like that. We are making changes to IT systems a lot more quickly than we do the electrical systems. These IT systems need a lot more care and feeding than do the power systems. But that is a symptom of the difference in maturity between the two.

Money Makes The World Go Round

In Canada, the Accounting guys hate capital assets because of the complicated way the tax laws deal with them. Capital asset rules leave companies with rooms full of obsolete computers that are worth nothing except as the capital asset on the balance sheet.

If Accounting can turn a capital asset into overhead, they love it. Overhead is dealt with the same year as it is incurred, which makes things simple. This removes complicated rules saying that you can only count against 20% of some asset's purchase price each year over five years.

This is one reason why the money guys love outsourced IT services. Instead of having to buy their own equipment, licenses, and staff to deal with it all, it becomes one easy-to-deal-with number on the monthly invoice.

Email Shows It Is Possible

Look at gmail. Google has provided a scalable example that home users can outsource their email beyond most of their ISP or school's capabilities, and they will be able to read it from anywhere a web browser works.

Businesses with more complicated needs can outsource groupware to hosted Exchange service providers. It provides email and calendaring as a service.

While outsourced web hosting has been a staple of the internet for a while, the individual services that people have wanted to run are themselves becoming available separately.

Chat has always been outsourced.

Facebook is outsourced social media.

Wordpress and Blogger are outsourced Blogging. Twitter is outsourced microblogging.

Google has a whole whack of things like Docs, Picassa, Sites, and even Wave (although nobody's quite sure what that's about yet).

Hook up with the right company and they'll host your Oracle Financials or Great Plains instances. All you have to do is plug in the numbers.

The point is, there are more and more things that you can do over the internet. More and more things that you don't have to do yourself. And the more you don't do yourself, the more you don't need complex networks, servers, or backup infrastructure.

Or people to run it all.

Even Developers

Since operating the actual compute hardware will become someone else's problem, even parts of development will be pushed into the same cloud that the end applications will run on. Maybe not the raw, bang-in-the-lines-of-code operations, but definitely testing, and probably CM (source code management, build, and release operations) as well.

Not Everything For Everyone

There will still be edge cases.

I am sure that much of the computer industry -- chip design, that kind of thing -- will remain its own silo, where the companies build, operate, and maintain their own intellectual property management and tools environments. But raw compute may become a utility that you connect to over the internet.

There are even signs that some tools vendors are considering tools access as a service. Think Synopsys' Design Sphere.

But the point is that most companies will be able to do many things using services delivered over the internet.

Basic IT will be delivered as an utility: out of a spout in the wall.

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This is a collection of techical information, much of it learned the hard way. Consider it a lab book or a /info directory. I doubt much of it will be of use to anyone else.

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