An optimized data center has the ability to transform the way businesses use their IT resources. With a virtualized, flexible infrastructure and applications, companies are able to realize the benefits of utility computing. Utility computing (UC) has received much press over the last few years, often described as some future pipe dream that will never happen. The promise and hype of UC deserves attention because it has the power to change IT forever.
The promise of utility computing, grid computing, and policy-based computing includes many of the aspects provided by the N1 Grid and related technologies. The focus of the N1 Grid technology has been on reducing complexity, but the real benefit is enabling the system to make operational decisions based on criteria specified by the business. Many companies are providing utility-based services today, and many more are initiating projects and pilots.
This chapter describes how the N1 Grid software can be used to achieve greater strategic business advantage. It discusses some of the challenges in implementing utility solutions, and it shows how utility data centers and the N1 Grid software play a role in the emerging policy-based data center.
The three types of computing discussed in this chapter are:
Utility and grid-based systems will likely become the standard in the next decade. Oracle has announced a grid version of its popular database platform, Oracle 10G. Regardless, business challenges must still be resolved prior to implementation. The future of IT is policy-based computing, but real progress is being made today (for example, the policy engine built into the N1 Grid Engine).