Making all this possible are open standards that permit the constituent parts of a vast heterogeneous infrastructure to connect and communicate.
With the proliferation of open standards-based technologies like Web services and with open Grid protocols and open middleware, a business can attain unprecedented levels of integration. With integration and standards comes a degree of automation that permits the operating environment to virtualize everything in the infrastructure, so users don't have to deal with its complexity. They can simply use the resource without having to care about how it works or even where it is.
That gives customers unheard-of flexibility in the ways they acquire and manage information technology. Virtualized resources can exist in the enterprise or at a service provider. Sharing the same standards as the service provider, the enterprise can call on the provider to satisfy peak computing demand or even all its needs. With that kind of flexibility, an enterprise can strike the most efficient balance between fixed capital investments and variable costs.
An on demand business is a more efficient business as well, because open standards that permit the formation of computing grids allow an enterprise to share computing resources, thus optimizing the installed base of information technology. And, in a world in which estimated 24-hour server utilization approximates two to five percent for Intel processor-based servers, 10 percent for UNIX® servers, and 60 percent for mainframes, even marginal increases in efficiency count.
Finally, open standards facilitate communication among systems. And systems that can share information about their respective states make for an infrastructure that is more autonomic. So it is resilient and working day after day, around the clock.
On demand boils down to a company that is poised to compete minute-by-minute, day-by-day, all year long in a marketplace constantly growing more dynamic, fluid, and unpredictable.