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Monday, May 30, 2005

On Demand – Adoption & Future

(Via Internetnews) Computing On Demand - as IBM describes it, means offering data center services like a utility, and basing those services on open standards that underpin integrated systems imbued with self-healing (autonomic) capabilities.As On Demand describes too many functions at once, its pickup appears quite slow. The JP Morgan Chase outsourcing contract reversal demonstrated - It's taking longer for internal cultures, as well as senior management making buying decisions, to warm to the approach - and to the depth of work it will take to achieve this kind of computing anytime you want it. John Patrick, an industry visionary who helped craft IBM's Internet and On Demand strategy says explaining On Demand is really about explaining an attitude - "It says that all of the data and all of the processes that are needed by any of the constituents of that organization will be available to them whenever they need it, wherever they are - with any device they might be using to connect to the Internet,". Moving to a true On Demand computing system means talking about virtualization, hosting applications, resilient infrastructure, failover databases (after all, this is On Demand we're talking about), and other systems management concepts.
SaaS, software by subscription are much easier in the software industry, especially as more people discover that much of what they do on the Web each day is, in part, a kind of on-demand software service. However there are more challenges ahead : In one On Demand model, customers get the software delivered to them by the network. They play around with easy pull-down menus, and customize it without having to interface with prickly programmers. When upgrade time comes - It can become chaotic maintaining old APIs and new ones, especially for smaller customers. Customers can’t be in the business of programming themselves - the lovely idea of On Demand software - having somebody else deal with the development and maintenance costs - is back on the customer's plate again. That's the downside to the shift away from burning software on a CD and shipping it to customers to configure as they will. Already, industry analysts are racing to release research reports warning about the bewildering array of APIs and difficulty that On Demand providers such as Salesforce.com are running into when it's time to deliver software upgrades On Demand.
Bruce Cleveland of Siebel says the umbrella label is on account of the fact - the industry is at a relatively early point for shifting to this kind of technology delivery - these services go beyond what you would consider to be application managed services, where traditionally one would outsource computing to an EDS, who would then take care of the software management. The story of system vendor Digital Equipment's demise is a good way to explain why software and computing On Demand are inevitable -no matter how slow or confusing the process right now.
On demand needs killer applications like airlines allowing people to switch flights, or check travel data from their smart phone, or make secure data calls to the enterprise via Web services – will herald a thundering herd of companies signing up for the work of delivering computing and data, On Demand, by the drink, utility style. But it is clear : On Demand is happening. And eventually, the baby-step pace will become a jog, then a sprint, then a race.

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"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"