While Amazon’s S3 storage cloud has been very popular, it’s not yet profitable according to CEO Jeff Bezos. Nick Carr has a post about Amazon’s growing pains and it’s change from a flat-rate all-customers-are-equal pricing model to a model that charges customers with lots of bandwidth usage more than those who simply upload their data and walk away.
As Nick points out, this change in pricing is something that many mature utilities do. For example, you pay different rates for electricity than your local manufacturing plant does, based on demand and usage patterns.
Why do you, the HPC reader, care? Because S3 is a very popular utility computing platform, and as the industry starts to mature and work the kinks out of the pricing models for on-demand IT services we may finally see viable supercomputing on demand take off.