What Is Utility Computing? Definition, Process, Examples, and Best Practices  | Spiceworks (2022)

Utility computing is defined as a service provisioning model that offers computing resources to clients as and when they require them on an on-demand basis. The charges are exactly as per the consumption of the services provided, rather than a fixed charge or a flat rate. This article explains the concept of utility computing in detail and shares some useful best practices for 2021.

Table of Contents

  • What Is Utility Computing?
  • 5-Step Process With Examples
  • Key Benefits of Utility Computing for Enterprises
  • Top 10 Utility Computing Best Practices for 2021

What Is Utility Computing?

Utility computing is a service provisioning model that offers computing resources such as hardware, software, and network bandwidth to clients as and when they require them on an on-demand basis. The service provider charges only as per the consumption of the services, rather than a fixed charge or a flat rate.

What Is Utility Computing? Definition, Process, Examples, and Best Practices | Spiceworks (1)

Utility Computing

Utility computing is a subset of cloud computing, allowing users to scale up and down based on their needs. Clients, users, or businesses acquire amenities such as data storage space, computing capabilities, applications services, virtual servers, or even hardware rentals such as CPUs, monitors, and input devices.

The utility computing model is based on conventional utilities and originates from the process of making IT resources as easily available as traditional public utilities such as electricity, gas, water, and telephone services. For example, a consumer pays his electricity bill as per the number of units consumed, nothing more and nothing less. Similarly, utility computing works on the same concept, which is a pay-per-use model.

The service provider owns and manages the computing solutions and infrastructure, and the client subscribes to the same and is charged in a metered manner without any upfront cost. The concept of utility computing is simple—it provides processing power when you need it, where you need it, and at the cost of how much you use it.

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5-Step Process With Examples

The concept of utility computing is transformational. Service providers match demand with delivery almost immediately. It enables businesses to transform their organization from a traditional environment to a more dynamic, adaptive, and service-oriented one. When demand exceeds capacity, utility computing becomes the perfect solution to top up resources as and when needed.

However, a major question that remains unanswered is where and how to get started with utility computing? Let’s understand the implementation process of utility computing with the help of examples.

Step 1: Determine the need

The initial steps involved are assessing internal organizational needs and the combination of services and resources required. Utility computing-hosting centers exist for a reason. They provide valuable, tightly integrated, fully customized utility computing solutions and resources as per clients’ needs. However, all of this will not matter if your organization is clueless about its actual objectives and needs.

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Step 2: Evaluate the service provider’s claims

Once your objectives are determined, evaluate if the utility computing solution will align with your goals and missions. Understanding which tasks will be supported and what level of resources or services will be provided is important. Further, ask important questions:

  • Will the service provider customize solutions according to your needs?
  • Will they leverage automation?
  • Will their collection of computing resources, software, and configuration provide maximum benefits to the users?

Evaluating the service provider’s offer is essential to determine whether their service will empower users to be more effective in accomplishing their goals on time.

Step 3: Assess the health of a computing resource

To assess the health of a computing resource, it is critical to deploy resource monitoring tools that look after its security and dynamic resource configuration requirements. Monitoring a utility computing resource involves identifying failures in the network, storage, and application resources. One of the best ways to make monitoring simple is using a collection of industry-standard and site-specific tools and local configuration files to be completely in sync with the overall utility computing environment.

Step 4: Identify the resource provisioning requirements

The next step involves analyzing the service provider’s capability to customize and configure resources to meet customer needs and establishing a load balance without overprovisioning or under provisioning resources. The provisioning interface must use resource command-line interfaces, APIs, and except scripts to detect potential failures and monitor changes.

Step 5: Map out a timeframe

Once the need, objectives, and type of resources are determined, the final step for architecting a utility computing solution involves mapping out the schedule, identifying when a specific resource might be needed, and for how much time. This allows the service provider to release unused resources early and improve the overall resource utilization strategy.

Examples of utility computing

The utility computing model has become one of the most popular IT provisioning models. It offers many advantages to businesses, such as no more internal IT management headaches and no requirement of software licenses. The arrival of public cloud utility solutions has become a deal-breaker in such a situation. The utility model aims to maximize the productive use of resources and minimize the costs that come along with them.

1. Travel reservation services

The travel and hotel industry is highly dependent on seasonal demand and peak festival times. COVID-19 travel restrictions have also played a huge part in setting new trends in the hospitality industry. As countries are opening their borders to international travel, we are seeing a surge in demand for tickets to exotic destinations.

Let’s assume you wish to travel to the Maldives and are looking to make a flight and hotel booking through your travel app. Due to the rise in demand, travel reservation applications will deploy additional infrastructural support and virtual servers to manage the offset of travelers wanting to make their reservations. This way, travel applications get extra resources onboard when they require and pay only based on their consumption.

2. Online retailers

With Christmas and New Year around the corner, online retailers will witness massive traffic jumps and endure extreme load on their servers. Let’s assume you wish to do a little redecoration before the festive season hits, and you turn to the Swedish Gods of DIY furnishing, aka Ikea. This is where utility computing enters. Online retailers would deploy additional data storage space to manage the online surge and get charged on a rental basis.

3. Startups and small businesses

Let’s say a startup sets up a new business and uses utility computing services to rent hardware units such as CPUs and monitors. Once their business catches the eye of thousands of customers, they would need to scale up by requesting more resources, bandwidth, and data storage space. Through this method, the startup only needs to pay for the resources it utilizes and can focus on flourishing its business without the worry of ongoing operational costs hindering business growth.

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Key Benefits of Utility Computing for Enterprises

The transition to utility computing has been quite compelling. While there are various benefits to utility computing, numerous beneficiaries make use of this concept to the best of their ability. These include organizations with a great deal of seasonality and swings in their business or those with annual peaks in capacity demand.

Utility computing is an uncomplicated, scalable, and cost-effective approach to managing IT needs. It is a bankable solution toward a rapid digital transformation. This brings us to unwrapping the key benefits of utility computing for enterprises.

What Is Utility Computing? Definition, Process, Examples, and Best Practices | Spiceworks (2)

Utility Computing Benefits

1. Removes the complexity of IT management

Before utility computing became prominent, the older system involved IT being hooked onto the safekeeping of a large block of resources. Utility computing has been instrumental in reducing the complexity of IT architectures and their management. Signing up with a utility service provider absolves the user from the responsibility of maintaining IT resources, including hardware and software. The need for spending time and resources on the maintenance of servers gets completely eliminated with this model.

2. Saves valuable time & resources

Growing complexities of networks are leading to the consumption of a large amount of resource and management time. The end to the increased complexity of networks will begin with utility computing. When the maintenance and management of IT architectures and servers fall into the service provider’s hands, organizations can conserve a lot of their precious time, allowing themselves to focus on addressing other pressing business concerns. Utility computing facilitates agility and integration between IT resources and enterprises.

3. Offers complete flexibility

For years, enterprises have been looking for a model that provides flexibility and a bottom-up provisioning system. Utility computing provides utmost flexibility in terms of availability of resources, on-demand usage, billing methods, and ease of accessing data anytime and anywhere. Utility computing simplifies the process of handling peak needs. For instance, since you don’t own the resources or are renting them for a long time, it becomes extremely easy to change the number of services, thereby shrinking or expanding them based on changes in season, demand, audience, or new efficiencies.

4. Facilitates minimal financial layout and maximum savings

Utility computing has created a storm in the business world primarily because of its flexibility and better economics. Its pay-per-use method of billing lets organizations pay for only those computing resources that they require. This leads to maximum cost savings for organizations. From reduction in operational costs, savings on capital expenses, and doing away with the initial costs of acquiring new resources to significantly lowered IT costs, this model is a complete package deal for enterprises across business verticals.

5. Allows shorter time to market

Utility computing allows resources to be supplied in small, incremental bites as and when required by an organization. This helps organizations deliver fast and demonstrable output, with a substantial return on investment, without having to wait for the full implementation to achieve payoffs.

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Top 10 Utility Computing Best Practices for 2021

The advent of computers was a beacon of hope for the professional world, with its promise to simplify the way people work. Be it efficiently achieving a day’s work in a few hours or bettering filing systems in a paperless world through email to avoid the occupational hazard of miscommunication, the benefits have been endless.

However, problems do occur and accurately evaluating them is complex. Moreover, there are frequent new updates in computer hardware and software owing to the industry constantly striving and progressing to provide the best products and services to its customers. While individuals benefit from this, it is one of the toughest business decisions for a company to commit to a specific operating system or software suite for a network of machines. It is no mean task to keep things up and running when even configuring a small application in the network can cause unexpected errors.

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Thanks to utility computing, there’s no looking back. Without further delay, let’s take a look at the top 10 best practices for utility computing in 2021.

What Is Utility Computing? Definition, Process, Examples, and Best Practices | Spiceworks (3)

Utility Computing Best Practices

1. Assess current workload

Before adopting any utility computing strategy, the first step is to assess the current workload and rightfully identify your organization’s needs. The next step is to plan and develop a computing strategy that aligns with the overall business strategy. A strong business use case needs to be made that evaluates crucial points to look into. For example, a public utility computing system wouldn’t be ideal if an organization deals with highly confidential data. Here, offloading of seasonal workload is the better choice.

Therefore, it is essential to adopt a model that facilitates your business objectives, minimizes risks, and adds to the value of the investment by delivering at par or exceeding your organization’s needs.

2. Choose a reliable utility service provider

The basic foundation of any computing service is built on choosing a reliable utility service provider. For an organization to partner with any service provider, the latter must deliver on all counts, adopt the best in-built security protocols, and conform to the maximal level of industry practices. A service provider should also extend a marketplace of partnership modules and solutions to further enhance the security of an organization’s deployment.

However, the true mark of a reliable utility service provider is their range of security compliance and certifications. Ideally, this should be publicly available, as in the case of leading providers such as Microsoft.

3. Uphold transparency about shared responsibility

When an organization partners with a utility service provider for a shift of systems and data, it is a partnership of shared responsibility for security implementation. The key lies in discovering which security tasks fall under the organization’s responsibility and those handled by the service provider. Leading IaaS and PaaS providers such as Amazon and Microsoft always provide documentation to their customers, upholding absolute transparency about where specific aspects of responsibility lie as per the different deployment modules.

This clarity ensures the prevention of any security breaches owing to security needs falling through the cracks.

4. Discuss all security concerns with the service provider

Beyond the shared responsibilities, an organization should ask its utility service provider what security measures and processes have been undertaken. It’s easy and even hazardous to assume that service providers have all security handled. While it can be true, the security methods and procedures may vastly vary from vendor to vendor.

Some aspects to take into consideration while discussing security concerns with the utility service provider are:

  • Geographically, where do the utility service provider’s servers reside?
  • What is the utility service provider’s protocol for suspected security breaches and incidents? How is it mitigated?
  • What is the level of technical support the utility service provider is willing to extend?
  • Does the utility service provider encrypt data, both in transit and at rest?
  • Who has access to the data stored in the computing system from the service provider’s end?
  • What authentication protocols and compliance requirements does the utility service provider support?
  • Does the utility service provider conduct frequent penetration tests, and what are their results?

5. Ensure training for all employees

For any organization, its employees are the first line of defense in secure utility computing. Their security practices and knowledge can either expose a system to cyber-attacks or protect it. For this purpose, comprehensive training for all employees is essential. This prevents hackers from accessing credentials for utility computing tools, enables users to spot threats, and equips them to respond to them appropriately. The threat landscape is constantly evolving, and without top-to-bottom visibility of all systems interacting with the organization’s data, to take stock of all the security vulnerabilities and penetrate through them is next to impossible,

Hence, for advanced users such as IT security teams and administrators directly involved with utility computing, organizations should consider industry-specific training and certifications.

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6. Maintain visibility for utility computing services

For many organizations, utility computing services can be diverse and pertain to a short time. Moreover, these services can be spread across service providers and geographies. According to research, utility computing services on the cloud have an average lifespan of 2 hours. This can create a blind spot in the computing environment, and if it can’t be seen, it can’t be secured.

Owing to this, it is essential for any organization that the utility computing solution they adopt ensures the visibility of the entire ecosystem. This aids in the better implementation of security policies throughout resources and helps identify risks effectively.

7. Scrutinize security contracts and SLAs

Security contracts and SLAs are the only assurances an organization can completely rely on when it comes to utility computing or any computing service. However, according to the McAfee Cloud Adoption and Risk Report, 2019, 62% of service providers don’t disclose that the clients own their data. This leaves a legally grey area.

Assess the terms and conditions, annexes, and appendices to determine who the data owner is and what happens if your organization decides to abort the services.

8. Set up identity and access management solution

One of the biggest identified computing threats is that of unauthorized access. With each new passing day, hackers’ methods of gaining access to personal information through attacks are becoming more sophisticated—a high-quality identity and access management solution aids in mitigating these risks. As per experts, organizations should look out for solutions that let them access and define the least privilege policies. In other words, these policies should be sketched based on permission capabilities adhering to the roles.

To better mitigate this risk of malicious actors gaining access to sensitive information, organizations should equip all their systems with multi-factor authentication. This prevents them from accessing sensitive information, even if they manage to steal usernames and passwords. Additionally, if an organization adopts solutions that work in the hybrid environment, it enables consistent enforcement of policies for security staff and end users.

9. Check and recheck compliance requirements

Customer data safety is an asset for every organization and needs increased protection, especially in the healthcare, finance, and retail sectors. These sectors deal with personal information and, as such, are required to adhere to strict compliance requirements geographically and otherwise. Special compliance regulations such as HIPAA, PCI, CCPA, SOC 2, and GDPR need to be considered.

Hence, before shortlisting any service provider, you should review specific compliance needs and ensure that your chosen provider delivers on these requirements.

10. Leverage automation

One excellent appeal of utility computing is its level of automation. An organization should consider automating its processes before adopting any computing service. This makes the processes within the organization, such as application deployment, resource provisioning, or performance monitoring, more seamless, enabling the workforce to focus on more crucial tasks such as re-architecture.

For any organization, deciphering the vast digital work and adopting a specific practice such as utility computing can be tricky. These best practices for utility computing enable better

understanding and implementation of such computing services at the core.

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Takeaway

Utility computing enables the exchange of resources with payment to be made in a metered manner. Along with taking away the stress of managing IT resources internally and freeing resources from specific tasks, it makes it easier to manage applications and systems while allowing organizations the time to focus on building their products and services.

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Today, utility computing has wide-reaching benefits and the potential for significant cost savings. The availability of IT resources as a utility has enabled organizations to be more agile, adaptive, and flexible in their business approach.

Did this article help you understand utility computing thoroughly? Comment below or let us know on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. We’d love to hear from you!

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FAQs

What is utility computing with example? ›

Utility computing basically refers to the utility computing technologies and the business models that are offered by a service provider to the IT customers. The client is charged as per their consumption. Examples of these IT services are storage, computing power, and applications.

What do you mean by utility computing? ›

Utility computing is a model in which computing resources are provided to the customer based on specific demand. The service provider charges exactly for the services provided, instead of a flat rate.

What do you mean by utility computing explain its advantages and disadvantages? ›

Utility Computing Advantages and Disadvantages. For most clients, the biggest advantage of utility computing is convenience. The client doesn't have to buy all the hardware, software and licenses needed to do business. Instead, the client relies on another party to provide these services.

What are features of utility computing? ›

Utility computing solutions can include virtual servers, virtual storage, virtual software, backup and most IT solutions. Cloud computing, grid computing and managed IT services are based on the concept of utility computing.

What is the uses of utility computing? ›

Utility computing is the most trending IT service model. It provides on-demand computing resources (computation, storage, and programming services via API) and infrastructure based on the pay per use method. It minimizes the associated costs and maximizes the efficient use of resources.

What is the difference between cloud computing and utility computing? ›

Utility computing is basically related to the business model in the application infrastructure resource. This could either be hardware or software which gets delivered. Cloud computing relates to the way it is designed, deployed, built, and run applications that operate in a virtual environment.

What are the examples of utility programs? ›

Several types of utility software are as follows:
  • Antivirus.
  • File Management System.
  • Disk Management tools.
  • Compression tools.
  • Disk cleanup tool.
  • File Management System.
  • Disk Defragmenter.
  • Backup utility.

What is utility computing and grid computing? ›

Utility Computing. It is a process architecture that combines different computing resources from multiple locations to achieve desired and common goal. It is process architecture that provide on-demand computing resources and infrastructure on basis of pay per use method.

What the user can gain from utility computing? ›

How user can gain from utility computing? Utility computing allows the user to pay only for what they are using. It is a plug-in managed by an organization which decides what type of services has to be deployed from the cloud. Most organizations prefer hybrid strategy.

What is utility computing write one of the primary reasons for its popularity in recent times? ›

Write one of the primary reasons for its popularity in recent times. Ans :- It is a service in which computing resources are given to IT customers on specific demand. Utility computing services only charge money to their client only for the service that has been provided/as per their consumption.

Why is cloud computing called a utility service? ›

They are called utility services because they function similarly to utilities like electricity and water. Both you and a massive corporation, like Amazon, access the electrical grid. Both of you pay for the amount you use, rather than a flat monthly fee to access the network.

Why should cloud computing use utility based models? ›

Using this UBOC user can share cloud resources and pay based on the usage and the results show that this algorithm can minimize the total cost under uncertainty. It also provisions the resources to remove the demand uncertainty.

On which one of the following utility computing is based? ›

5) On which one of the following utility computing is based? Explanation: Utility computing is based on the pay-what-you use model.

What are types of cloud computing? ›

There are four main types of cloud computing: private clouds, public clouds, hybrid clouds, and multiclouds. There are also three main types of cloud computing services: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

What is the most important concern of cloud computing? ›

What is the most important concern of cloud computing? Answer: C) Security is the most important concern of cloud computing.

What are the benefits of cloud computing? ›

Benefits of cloud computing
  • Reduced IT costs. Moving to cloud computing may reduce the cost of managing and maintaining your IT systems. ...
  • Scalability. ...
  • Business continuity. ...
  • Collaboration efficiency. ...
  • Flexibility of work practices. ...
  • Access to automatic updates. ...
  • Also consider...
11 May 2022

What are 5 examples of utilities? ›

Common utilities include water, sewer, electric, gas, trash, and recycling. Technology subscriptions like cable TV, internet, security, and phone service can also be considered utilities.

What type of software is utility software? ›

Utility software is part of the system software and performs specific tasks to keep the computer running. Utility software is always running in the background. Examples of utility software are security and optimisation programs. Security programs include anti-virus software that scans and removes viruses.

What are the 5 types of system software? ›

System software includes:
  • Operating systems.
  • Device drivers.
  • Middleware.
  • Utility software.
  • Shells and windowing systems.

What is the difference between grid and cloud computing? ›

Cloud computing makes the system all-time accessible. Grid computing refers to a network of the same or different types of computers whose target is to provide an environment where a task can be performed by multiple computers together on a need basis. Each computer can work independently as well.

What is cluster computing example? ›

In computers, clustering is the use of multiple computers, typically PCs or UNIX workstations, multiple storage devices, and redundant interconnections, to form what appears to users as a single highly available system. Cluster computing can be used for load balancing as well as for high availability.

How do you create a cloud environment? ›

Setting Up Your Environment
  1. Sign in to your Google Cloud account. ...
  2. In the Google Cloud console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project. ...
  3. Make sure that billing is enabled for your Cloud project. ...
  4. Enable the Cloud Run Admin API.
  5. Install and initialize the gcloud CLI.
  6. Update components:

What are the main factors that contributed to the evolution of cloud computing? ›

In making cloud computing what it is today, five technologies played a vital role. These are distributed systems and its peripherals, virtualization, web 2.0, service orientation, and utility computing.

Which computing feature is related to utility computing Mcq? ›

Explanation: Cloud computing is a paradigm of distributed computing to provide the customers with on-demand, utility based computing services.

What is utility services program? ›

Noun. 1. utility program - (computer science) a program designed for general support of the processes of a computer; "a computer system provides utility programs to perform the tasks needed by most users" service program, utility.

Which one of the following is an utility services? ›

Utilities (water, electricity and gas) are essential services that play a vital role in economic and social development.

What is SaaS in cloud computing? ›

What is SaaS? Software as a service (or SaaS) is a way of delivering applications over the Internet—as a service. Instead of installing and maintaining software, you simply access it via the Internet, freeing yourself from complex software and hardware management.

Which of the following techniques will best give you the option to store and process your data? ›

Answer. Explanation: For hosting private clouds, a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) is the best option.

Who is the father of cloud computing? ›

Who is the father of cloud computing technology? The answer to this trivia night question is American computer scientist J.C.R. Licklider. In the late 1960s, he envisioned a world where everyone would be connected with the ability to access specific programs and data regardless of where the access point was located.

What are the 3 basic components of cloud computing? ›

These services are divided into three main categories or types of cloud computing: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS).

What are the three types of cloud computing? ›

Types of Cloud Computing
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) ...
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) ...
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

What are 3 types of cloud deployment models? ›

Cloud service delivery models: The three basic types are SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS.

What are the examples of utility programs? ›

Several types of utility software are as follows:
  • Antivirus.
  • File Management System.
  • Disk Management tools.
  • Compression tools.
  • Disk cleanup tool.
  • File Management System.
  • Disk Defragmenter.
  • Backup utility.

What is cluster computing example? ›

In computers, clustering is the use of multiple computers, typically PCs or UNIX workstations, multiple storage devices, and redundant interconnections, to form what appears to users as a single highly available system. Cluster computing can be used for load balancing as well as for high availability.

What is grid and utility computing? ›

Utility Computing. It is a process architecture that combines different computing resources from multiple locations to achieve desired and common goal. It is process architecture that provide on-demand computing resources and infrastructure on basis of pay per use method.

Why is cloud computing called a utility service? ›

They are called utility services because they function similarly to utilities like electricity and water. Both you and a massive corporation, like Amazon, access the electrical grid. Both of you pay for the amount you use, rather than a flat monthly fee to access the network.

What are 5 examples of utilities? ›

Common utilities include water, sewer, electric, gas, trash, and recycling. Technology subscriptions like cable TV, internet, security, and phone service can also be considered utilities.

What type of software is utility software? ›

Utility software is part of the system software and performs specific tasks to keep the computer running. Utility software is always running in the background. Examples of utility software are security and optimisation programs. Security programs include anti-virus software that scans and removes viruses.

What are the 5 types of system software? ›

System software includes:
  • Operating systems.
  • Device drivers.
  • Middleware.
  • Utility software.
  • Shells and windowing systems.

What are types of cloud computing? ›

There are four main types of cloud computing: private clouds, public clouds, hybrid clouds, and multiclouds. There are also three main types of cloud computing services: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

What is cluster and node? ›

A cluster is a group of servers or nodes. Using the same train analogy from our Kubernetes 101 post, we called the nodes the individual train cars, such as a tanker or a freight car. The clusters as the body of the train, a connection of all these cars that form the train itself.

What are different types of cluster computing? ›

Types of Cluster Computing

Computer clusters can generally be categorized as three types: Highly available or fail-over. Load balancing. High performance computing.

How user can gain from utility computing? ›

How user can gain from utility computing? Utility computing allows the user to pay only for what they are using. It is a plug-in managed by an organization which decides what type of services has to be deployed from the cloud. Most organizations prefer hybrid strategy.

What is grid computing in simple words? ›

Grid computing is a group of networked computers which work together as a virtual supercomputer to perform large tasks, such as analysing huge sets of data or weather modeling.

On which one of the following utility computing is based? ›

5) On which one of the following utility computing is based? Explanation: Utility computing is based on the pay-what-you use model.

What is utility services program? ›

Noun. 1. utility program - (computer science) a program designed for general support of the processes of a computer; "a computer system provides utility programs to perform the tasks needed by most users" service program, utility.

Which one of the following is an utility services? ›

Utilities (water, electricity and gas) are essential services that play a vital role in economic and social development.

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