Hewlett-Packard says its update of a pay-per-use plan for servers is likely to lead to a total utility-based billing option by the end of the year.
HP last week updated its Pay per Use server pricing scheme, which is similar to a mobile phone billing plan in that it allows corporate customers to pay for only the amount of server computing power they use. This is determined by servers sending an email to HP whenever they are turned on. Pay per Use is available on new Unix-based Superdome servers as well as servers based on Intel’s 32-bit processors.
HP NZ market development manager Ian Walters says the update is part of the “utility continuum” the company has been working along for about 18 months. Walters says a number of local customers have already taken it up. He expects a fully utility-based scheme by the fourth quarter. This may mean eventually that if server capacity is reduced pricing will also reduce, Walters says. He couldn’t say if utility-based pricing would reduce costs for organisations, and says such schemes have to approached on a similar cost-benefit basis as mobile phone billing plans.
Pay per Use complements both HP’s Instant Capacity on Demand (iCOD), which allows customers to activate additional servers or processors as needed, and HP’s Pay per Forecast pricing plan, which allows companies to set up a payment schedule based on forecast usage, HP says. A “membership” fee that was annual will now be paid every three years, Walters says.
Sun also offers pay-per-CPU options and other server vendors such as IBM, Compaq and Dell are beginning to come out with programs that take into account the cash flow realities and usage peaks and valleys their users have.