Or Why Carr’s Analogy is Wrong. Again.

frustBag Nicolas Carr envisioned compute resources being delivered in a means similar to electricity. Though providers and consumers alike use the terminology to describe cloud computing billing and metering models, the reality is that we’ve just moved from a monthly server hosting model to a more granular hourly one, and the delivery model has not changed in any way as we’ve moved to this more “on-demand” model of IT resources.

There’s very little difference between choosing amongst a list of virtual “servers” and a list of physical “servers” with varying memory capacity and compute power. Instead of choosing “Brand X Server with a specific memory and CPU spec”, you’re choosing “generic image with a specific memory and CPU spec.” You are still provisioning based on a concrete set of resources, though arguably the virtual kind can be much more easily modified than its physical predecessors. Still, you are provisioning – and ultimately paying – for a defined set of resources and you’re doing so every hour that it remains active. You may provision the smallest amount of resources possible as a means to better perform capacity planning and keep costs lower, but you’re still paying for unused resources no matter how you slice it (pun intended).