In today's business environment, says Bechtel CIO Geir Ramleth, IT needs to benchmark itself \n\nagainst a new set of peers: successful technology companies that built their IT systems in \n\nthe Internet era. Doing so is a painful exercise for the ego. "Corporate IT is trying to \n\nbreak the sound barrier, and the Googles and Amazons are supersonic. They're hypersonic," \n\nsays Howard Rubin, president and CEO of Rubin Worldwide and a Gartner senior advisor. But \n\nthe exercise can yield big returns.\n\nRamleth researched 18 companies and developed benchmarks against many of them. Among them were: YouTube, Google, Amazon and Salesforce.com.\n\n\n\nCompany: YouTube\n\n\nTechnolgoy: Wide-Area Network\n\n\nBENCHMARK*:YouTube paid $10-15\/megabitBechtel paid \n\n$500\/megabit\n\n\nWHAT BECHTEL LEARNED: It was more than volume discounts from telecom \n\nvendors that got YouTube its lower costs. YouTube locates its data centers in places where \n\nthere's already a lot of bandwidth, so they don't have to pay as much for \n\ninfrastructure.\n\n\nCompany: Google\n\n\nTECHNOLOGY: Servers\n\n\nBENCHMARK*: Google employed one systems administrator for about \n\n20,000 servers.Bechtel employed one systems administrator per 100 servers.\n\n\nWHAT BECHTEL LEARNED: Bechtel was building whatever the business \n\nwanted, whenever it wanted, wherever it wanted. Google standardized its server \n\ninfrastructure.\n\nCompany: Amazon\n\n\nTechnolgoy: Virtualization\n\n\nBENCHMARK*:Amazon sold storage to external customers for 15 \n\ncents\/GB\/month (estimated).Bechtel's internal storage costs were $3.75\/GB\/month.\n\n\n\nWHAT BECHTEL LEARNED: Amazon could sell storage cheaply, Ramleth \n\nbelieves, because its servers were more highly utilized.\n\n\nCompany: Salesforce.com\n\n\nTechnolgoy: Applications\n\n\nBENCHMARK*:Salesforce.com provided one version of one application \n\nfor 1 million users. Upgraded four times\/year with minimal downtime or training.Bechtel \n\nran 230 applications, up to five versions of each\u2014nearly 800 different application versions \n\naltogether. Upgrades and training were constant. No version management.\n\n\nWHAT BECHTEL LEARNED:"We're so far apart from Salesforce, it's scary," \n\nsays Ramleth. His team is converting Bechtel's 50 most heavily used apps into \n\nsingle-instance software-as-a-service apps run from a Google-like portal.\n\n\n\n*Benchmarked costs for Google and YouTube are based on research and estimates by Bechtel in 2006 and may not reflect current numbers.