IBM is to offer metering software in its servers to allow companies to bill internal departments for IT use, or allow outsourcers to charge their customers for actual IT resources consumed.
The company will incorporate the metering technology in both its x86 processor-based servers and its mainframes. IBM's System p Unix servers will also be able to use it later this year.
The software, called IBM Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager, is based on technology acquired by IBM when it bought CIMS Labs at the beginning of this year.
It could be used in virtualised computer environments, where several instances of the same software application are run on a single machine, or multiple different operating systems are partitioned on the server platform.
Such virtualisation support would make it easier for companies to bill internal departments for IT use without having to use separate hardware for each department.
It could also give outsourcers and their customers greater transparency over the cost of IT resources.