HP plugs in to utility services

IPS and APS services provide extra computing power to handle temporary surges in demand

Enterprises with fluctuating demand for computing power will be able to dip into Hewlett-Packard's resources via new utility computing services the company introduced last week.

HP's IPS (Infrastructure Provisioning Service) and APS (Application Provisioning Service) provide extra computing power to businesses that don't wish to deploy servers to handle temporary surges in demand, said Brian Fowler, HP's utility services global director.

Utility computing is a much-discussed but still-emerging concept in datacenter computing. The idea is to allow customers to tap into a pool of computing resources hosted by a provider such as HP. IBM and Sun Microsystems are also developing their own similar services.

HP's new services allow customers to send their data for processing in HP datacenters in Paris and Houston. The data can be compressed and encrypted for transport over the Internet, or larger data sets can be physically mailed to those HP centers, Fowler said.

With the basic IPS service, customers can choose the type of HP server that will process their data.

The APS offering has HP managing application software, such as its APS for computer-aided engineering, for its customers.

To cope with the cyclical demand for computing resources tied to certain events -- such as the release of an upcoming movie -- animation house PDI/Dreamworks has been working with HP on utility computing services for about three years, said Mike Kiernan, head of systems infrastructure at PDI/Dreamworks.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.