This year\u2019s Comdex, Nov. 16-20 in Las Vegas, will be an interesting one. The conference has a renewed focus on the business aspects of IT, with a particular emphasis on business-to-business technologies. One of the themes is on-demand computing.On-demand computing is one of my focuses here at Enterprise Management Associates, and I spend a lot of time working with vendors in this market. On-demand computing is the general concept of automatically integrating business requirements with the IT resources required to support those needs, dynamically managing assignments of those resources based on business priority.An example of an on-demand scenario would be that of a retailer that experiences cyclical spikes in business activity from events such as holidays. During these periods, the retailer sees large increases in demand on its critical business systems, and if IT fails to keep up with demand, the business can potentially lose millions of dollars in revenue.On-demand computing would allow the retailer\u2019s IT infrastructure to dynamically shift IT resources from less-critical systems to support those business-critical services, returning the resources to the \u201cpool\u201d when they are no longer needed. While this sounds like a lot of smoke and mirrors, it is actually possible to purchase and implement some of these technologies today.Major vendors that have on-demand computing initiatives underway include IBM (On Demand), Computer Associates (On Demand), HP (Adaptive Enterprise), Sun (N1), Microsoft (Dynamic Systems Initiative), not to mention literally hundreds of smaller vendors supporting these initiatives. The key components include bread-and-butter IT technologies such as storage, provisioning, performance and availability, configuration management, automation, and security. It is the combination of these technologies with IT and business policy, in a fully automated way, that completes the on-demand computing vision.In order to help further understanding of this complex topic, EMA is chairing a number of on-demand computing sessions at Comdex, including \u201cData Storage: Is the Future Bright or Hopeless,\u201d \u201cThe Truth about Virtualization,\u201d \u201cAutonomic Computing,\u201d \u201cOn Demand and the Data Center,\u201d \u201cOptimizing Server Utilization,\u201d \u201cNetworking On-Demand,\u201d \u201cRoadmap for Automation,\u201d and \u201dOn Demand Case Studies.\u201d The emphasis for these sessions is not on trends, but on what IT can leverage now to help achieve business goals.If you are attending Comdex this year (and 50,000 of you are), I would encourage you to attend these sessions. If you would like more information, point your Web browser to:https:\/\/www.comdex.com\/lasvegas2003\/exhib\/themes\/?s=on_demandEMA analyst Mike Karp and I are moderating and presenting a number of the Comdex on-demand computing sessions in conjunction with industry luminaries from IBM, Computer Associates, HP and Cisco - as well as customers that are using on-demand today, including Whirlpool and Southern Farm Casualty Insurance. We hope to see you there!