Analyst Report: Metered IT: the path to utility computing


Agility is increasingly recognized as one of the main advantages of cloud computing, replacing earlier justifications such as cost reduction and reduced environmental impact. But an important aspect of agility is choice: the choice to run computing jobs in house, in a private cloud, or on public cloud services from the likes of Amazon, Rackspace, and a growing number of other providers.

To exercise choice, customers require information and the ability to compare the costs and benefits of competing solutions. Current pricing models for most cloud solutions make conducting meaningful comparisons difficult and reduce the ease with which customers can select the best infrastructure for different computing jobs.

This report explores opportunities for accurately measuring computing resources and their use, simplifying the comparison of competing cloud offerings and opening the door to charging models based more closely on actual consumption.

As Amazon CTO Werner Vogels writes on his blog.

“Many of our customers come to AWS with a reduction of TCO and other cost savings in mind but after using AWS for a while most of them will claim that agility is the even more [significant] benefit for them. Agility has many different faces within an enterprise: Operational advantages such as setting up infrastructure in minutes rather than months, completing massive computational projects with a large number of resources quickly, and scaling architecture up and down to provide the needed IT resources only when you need them, deliver targeted IT solutions fast for individual business units – these deliver a ‘return on agility.’ The return on agility delivers business value by allowing you [to] adapt rapidly, while remaining focused on your core competencies rather than [be] distracted by operating IT infrastructure.”

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. The value of measurement
    1. What can we measure?
    2. Allocation Vs. Consumption
  3. Utility Computing
    1. Measuring Consistently
    2. The workload Allocation Cube
    3. The Service Measure Index
    4. CloudCmp
    5. CloudHarmony
    6. Cloudorado
    7. U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology
    8. Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation’s Open Systems Group
  4. Pros and Cons of utility computing
    1. Pros of utility computing
    2. Compare and Contrast
    3. Cons of utility computing
  5. Future possibilities
    1. A common measure?
    2. Compute: the new commodity
  6. Key Takeaways
  7. About Paul Miller
  8. About GigaOM pro

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