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Utility computing is the process of providing computing service through an on-demand, pay-per-use billing method. Utility computing is a computing business model in which the provider owns, operates and manages the computing infrastructure and resources, and the subscribers accesses it as and when required on a rental or metered basis.
Utility computing is one of the most popular IT service models, primarily because of the flexibility and economy it provides. This model is based on that used by conventional utilities such as telephone services, electricity and gas. The principle behind utility computing is simple. The consumer has access to a virtually unlimited supply of computing solutions over the Internet or a virtual private network, which can be sourced and used whenever it's required. The back-end infrastructure and computing resources management and delivery is governed by the provider.
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.