IBM Invests $4 Billion to Build

Gordon Mohr
Wed, 22 Aug 2001 17:54:44 -0700

Adam Beberg writes:

> On Wed, 22 Aug 2001, Mike Dierken wrote:
> > In the 'crazy dreamers' dept...
> You mean the "those who refuse to learn from history..." dept.
> > IBM Invests $4 Billion to Build World-Wide Computing Utility
> >
> > "You'll get computing power and storage capacity -- not from your own
> > computer -- but over the Internet on demand," said Mr. Wladawsky-Berger, who
> > also heads IBM's Linux operating system group. "You pay for what you use,
> > pretty much the way you do with electric power."
> It's just too bad that this idea has repeatedly been proven over and over
> and over as unviable for the last 30 years. IBM really has no excuse for
> buying into this hype, THEY are one of the ones that keeps proving it's not
> viable.

In technology markets, the "unviable" ideas from just a few years
ago can become the giant hits, due to a changing overall environment.
Years of failure in hypertext didn't make the web a dumb idea.

I think in any mega-computation market, the key differentiators
will be trust, security, and guaranteed-availability/performance.
These are all areas where hosted compute-farms could outperform 
ad-hoc P2P networks, at least initially.

> You really think a company big
> enough to need 50,000 CPUs doesnt already HAVE them in house, oh please.

So the question will be: can IBM's farms outperform the
competing "harvest what you've got lying around" solutions?
I suspect on the criteria above, they've got a fair chance.

> Speaking of utilities, has anyone heard any more about how Enron is trying
> to corner the fresh water market like they did with electricty? "That will
> be $57 for the bath sir." Last I heard they were facing resistance from
> local governments since people still remember what they did to California...
> for now...

California did everything to itself: it set up a dumb system
which rewarded market manipulation (even by local-municipal-owned 
utilities!) and outlawed mediating practices. Then it overreacted 
to temporary spot-shortages, overpaying for years of energy in 
advance in secret contracts. No need to smear Enron.

- Gordon