An automated metering technology announced by Hewlett-Packard this week builds on the company's efforts to give users the ability to pay for hardware based on actual measured usage.
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But companies will need to buy at least four of HP's high-end Superdome servers and commit to using at least a quarter of the overall capacity on each to be eligible for the new metering product.
The metering capability will let users align their hardware costs with actual system utilisation, said Irv Rothman, chief executive of HP's financial services organisation, which will deliver the technology to users.
It will allow users to keep extra capacity available at hand but pay for the capacity only when it is actually used.
"It enables customers to lower their total cost of ownership and enhance their return on IT," Rothman claimed.
The metering system expands upon technology that HP has offered since the rollout of its first Superdome servers in late 2000. Earlier HP pay-per-use metering products kept track only of whether a CPU was on or off and provided a monthly usage average on that basis.
The latest version sits behind a company's firewall and determines how much of a CPU's power is being used every five minutes. A monthly average is calculated, and customers are billed based on average percentage of CPU power used.
All of the CPU utilisation data is automatically collected, encrypted and transmitted to an HP billing engine without any user intervention or administrative overhead.
"If a user operates at maximum, this pay-per-use percentage utilisation offering is no more expensive than a standard 36-month contract," Rothman said.