By Herring on Oct 16, 2007
The more I talk to the world about utility computing the more I am amazed that the average person wants one definition of "utility computing" The world really isn't that simple. Lets consider your typical utilities that you pay for in the average home -- electric and garbage. Both are undoubtedly utilities, but both have a very different payment model.
My electric utility provider only charges me for electricity I consume. This model is very consistent with the model we use at Network.com where we charge $1/CPU/hour for compute utility. Like my electric company, unless you use the utility you pay nothing. (As a side -- wouldn't it be great if could create the same set of energy consuming hogs like TVs in standby mode, cell phone chargers that aren't charging anything,etc. We could made millions off the useless use of compute, and like the electric utility charge you for this no-value. Alas just a dream, we only charge for what you actually use doing real work, maybe the electrical utilities should do the same?)
Now some utilities like my garbage utility charge me irrespective of whether I put the garbage out or not. They actually charge me the same if I have no garbage or a can full of garbage. This too is a utility and is very similar to the electric utility, just the business model is different. Phone service is another utility where there is more of a hybrid model of pay-per-use over a certain threshold. Hosting services seem to use this utility pricing model.
So which one is the true utility -- sorry to have to shatter some ideals here.. but BOTH! Utility isn't about how you pay, nor it is rental -- I don't rent electricity, it isn't
leasing -- I don't have a lease for any hydro-electrical plants! What is it? It really is about getting someone with expertise in an area to provide a service to you that is more beneficial for you to pay to have run on your behalf than run it yourself.
Grid today did a great write-up on the origin of Utility Computing and to reiterate the theme there -- I believe that we are in the early days of Utility computing, the "killer application" has not been found yet, but this will be the dominant compute model of the future. I am excited to be at the forefront of this evolutionary charge and part of the team moving Network.com forward.