Jon Udell writes in the context of Amazon’s S3:
Id like to find out whether metering infrastructure services in this way will prove technically and economically viable. When we talk about a grid of Web services, we like to compare it to the power grid, but the analogy is deeply flawed in at least one way. My electric bill isnt itemized. I dont know what it costs me to run each of my appliances, or how long it will take to amortize the cost of replacements. Lacking this feedback, we make poor individual decisions that, collectively, add up to a tragic misallocation of resources.
Creating whats called the energy web — a marketplace where smart producers and consumers of power exchange price signals in real time — will require a massive overhaul of our legacy power grid. Theres just no way for us to start from scratch. But in the realm of Web services, were just now building the grid. Given a clean slate, perhaps we can figure out how to aggregate demand, meter usage, and value services for what they do rather than just for the eyeballs they attract.