Self Organizing ICT Resource Management
The SORMA (Self Organizing ICT Resource Management) project funded by the European Commission ended in August 2009 at the Betriebswirtschaftliches Forschungszentrum für Fragen der mittelständischen Wirtschaft e. V. (Business Research Center for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) at the University of Bayreuth (BF/M). It had a volume of 2.7 million euros, distributed over a project period of three years. Twelve institutions worldwide from the fields of business informatics, business administration and computer science participated in the research project.
The aim of the project was to develop a platform for the exchange of “on-demand” resources. So-called grid systems serve as the basis for the infrastructure. By connecting to a grid via the Internet, companies are enabled to access resources such as server capacity, storage capacity or applications on demand from service providers. The technologies and business models with which a provider makes IT services available to its customers in the form of services and bills them according to consumption are called “utility computing”. This is where the project comes in. In addition to trading in resources, SORMA focuses on providing the agreed services. For users, the quality of the resources received is of particular importance.
In October 2009, the developed platform was presented to invited representatives of the European Commission in a live demonstration. The reviewers were convinced by the results of the project and rated SORMA as “good to excellent”. The industrial partners Correlation Systems (Israel) and TXT e-solutions (Italy) have expressed interest in integrating the developed product into their operations and further developing it after the end of the project period. One of the main project goals, namely the industrial use of the platform, has thus been achieved.
The core of the platform is the development of a component-based software architecture for the creation of a trading platform for IT resources.
In addition to the BF/M-Bayreuth, the project involved the University of Karlsruhe, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Cardiff University, Correlation Systems from Israel, the Hebrew University, the Research Center for Information Technologies in Karlsruhe, Sun Microsystems, the Swedish Institute of Computer Science, TXT e-Solutions from Italy, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, the University of Reading and the University of New South Wales.
|Funding||6th Framework Programme of the EU|
|Start||01. September 2006|
|End||31. August 2009|
|Project duration||3 years|
|Project manager at BF/M||Dipl.-Kfm. Raimund Matros|
|Project lead||Prof. Dr. Torsten Eymann|
On the Background of "on-demand" Resources
The trade with I&K resources promises efficiency gains compared to conventional systems. While frequently used servers based on an Intel architecture achieve a utilization of 10 to 15%, the average utilization of desktop computers is even lower, at about 5%. This means that a large part of the available computing power in companies is not being used. The SORMA project aims to develop the necessary tool to enable companies to enter the ICT resource trade. As a result, the required computing power can be called up as required without the respective company having to procure the hardware for this. Unused resources can therefore be exploited.
Use of the findings from SORMA
At the BF/M, the knowledge gained led to a cooperation with SAP AG on the topic of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). SaaS is a flexible reference model for software and thus represents the commercial development of the on-demand concept from SORMA. SaaS fundamentally changes the way companies use software. Instead of purchasing software and installing and operating it within the company, the SaaS model involves the installation, operation, maintenance and updates being handled by a service provider. This service provider makes the software available via an Internet connection in return for a regular fee.
SaaS is regarded in the trade press as particularly suitable for small and medium-sized companies. However, German SMEs are still holding back on adopting the concept. The project answered the question of which factors are important for the adoption of Software-as-a-Service by German SMEs. On the basis of the theoretical preliminary work from the SORMA project, 25 factors influencing the probability of adoption by medium-sized companies were identified.
In addition to common factors, such as the external storage of sensitive data, other SaaS characteristics, such as testability and procurement flexibility, continuous updates, adaptability and expandability, user-friendliness, integration capability and the procurement cost model, proved to be relevant influencing factors. In addition, SaaS provider characteristics such as guaranteed availability or economic stability and references influence the adoption of Software-as-a-Service. Furthermore, it is shown that the commitment to a provider decreases from the perspective of transaction cost theory in the SaaS model. Furthermore, the strategic importance of an application and various general conditions at the demand side influence the probability of adoption.
The findings were gained in the course of a practical diploma thesis by Daniel Pöhler, who worked with SAP AG and SMEs between October 2009 and March 2010.