Short for on-demand computing, a typically enterprise-level computing model in which the technology and computing resources are allocated to the organization and its individual users on an as-needed basis. For example, computing resources such as CPU cycles, bandwidth availability, storage and applications can be channeled to users based on the tasks they are performing at specified times. If one group of users is working with bandwidth-heavy applications, for instance, the bandwidth can be allocated specifically to them and diverted away from users who do not need the bandwidth at that moment. In another scenario, an organization that is collecting large amounts of data may have adequate computing resources to collect the data but needs extra computing resources to analyze all of the data collected, in which case it could outsource its needs to a server farm that would provide the extra boost of resources but only at the specified times.
ODC resources may come from within the enterprise, or the organization may outsource its computing needs to a third-party service provider. The benefit of ODC is that the enterprise uses its resources more efficiently by only making available what the user needs at a specific time. For the enterprise outsourcing its computing needs, under this model it would only pay for resources that are used.
On-demand computing also is referred to as utility computing.