The Problem of Metering Cloud Computing

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes,” to which Bert Murray added, “It used to be that death and taxes alone were inevitable. Now there’s shipping and handling.” In the cloud world, it’s metering that seems to be inevitable. This began with the cloud ethos of “pay only for what you use, and don’t tie up your money in infrastructure.” But that ethos had some (probably unanticipated) negative consequences. Data transfers “inter-colo” (within a collocation facility) are usually fast and free.

Data transferred in to a cloud is usually not as fast, but often is still free. Data transferred out is usually metered (i.e., taxed) and also is not so fast. The delay in data getting from cloud A to cloud B is called latency. Low latency makes it feasible to use Amazon S3 with Amazon EC2, as they are co-located.

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