IT and Electricity - History repeating itself?

Nicolas Carr wrote "In the long run, the IT department is unlikely to survive, at least not in its familiar form.  It will have little left to do once the bulk of business computing shifts out of private datacentres and into the cloud. Business units and even individual employees will be able to control the processing of information directly, without the need for legions of technical people."

The rationale is that utility computing companies will replace corporate IT departments in the same way that electricity utilities replaced company-run power plants in the early 1900s.

At that time factory owners originally operated their own power plants. But as electric utilities became more reliable and offered better economies of scale, companies stopped running their own electric generators and instead outsourced that critical function to electricity utilities.

Currently that same shift is happening with utility computing. The internet, combined with computer hardware and software that has become commoditised, and that will enable the utility computing model to replace today's client/server model.

"It has always been understood that, in theory, computing power, like electric power, could be provided over a grid from large-scale utilities and that such centralised dynamos would be able to operate much more efficiently and flexibly than scattered, private datacentres," Carr writes.

There are many drivers for the move to utility computing. One is that computers, storage systems, networking gear and most widely used applications have become commodities.


Examples such as Google support the view of commoditised utility computing. Google runs some of the largest and most sophisticated datacentres on the planet, and uses them to provide services such as Google Apps that compete directly with traditional client/server software from vendors such as Microsoft.

"If companies can rely on utilities like Google to fulfil all or most of their computing requirements, they'll be able to slash the money they spend on their own hardware and software — and all the dollars saved are ones that would have gone into the coffers of Microsoft and the other tech giants," Carr says.

As proof of new utility computing approach it should be noted that Internet companies including YouTube, Craigslist and Skype that run their operations with minimal IT professionals.

YouTube had just 60 employees when it was bought by Google in 2006 for US$1.65 billion (NZ$2.09 billion). Craigslist currently has a staff of 28 to run a website with billions of pages of content, while internet telephony vendor Skype supports 53 million customers with only 200 employees.

What does this mean for you?

In the past you have had to buy expensive PCs, IT support, software and possibly build your own infrastructure.   You don’t have to do that anymore.  We can buy your IT problems from you in return for a monthly per seat payment.

What we will supply you is DAAS (desktop as a service).  DAAS allows you to use your information anywhere you have internet access.  DAAS gives you a fully featured virtual PC with Windows 7 and Office 2010.