AT&T Plans Utility Computing Overhaul

AT&T Corp. is making big changes to its utility computing strategy next year, offering users application-based CPU pricing on a per-minute basis, according to Joe Weinman, the firm’s vice president of strategy and emerging services.

Weinman, speaking at the inaugural Globalcomm 2006 Master Class Series of lectures, hosted by Light Reading and the TIA, explained that one big-name software vendor, BEA Systems Inc., has already agreed to offer its WebLogic technology as part of the service, which will be launched in the first half of 2006. AT&T has offered CPU-based pricing as part of its utility computing services for more than a year; although this is the first time that the service provider has tied them to specific applications.

With pay-as-you-go pricing for both hardware and software, users can avoid the expense of software licenses. (See Software Licensing Gridlock.) "That's the enormous breakthrough," Weinman claimed. "It's not like taking a Model-T and putting windshield wipers on it, it's like inventing the jet plane."

Weinman also hinted that AT&T may strike deals with other application software companies, but he did not name names. "What we're looking at doing is to allow multiple different applications with this CPU-based pricing," he said.

Gordon Haff, senior analyst at Illuminata Inc., said this differs from the approach taken by other utility computing players such as IBM Corp., Hewlett Packard Co., and Sun Microsystems Inc., which have focused mainly on CPU-based pricing. "The general direction of utility computing over time will be about delivering a software service, rather than just delivering raw computer power," he explained.

Read the rest of the article on Byte and Switch — James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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