I ran across Nirvanix a few days ago thanks to a joint press release they had with 3Tera. I liked what they had built but I wasn't totally on board with their pricing model. So, this is is a very brief few thoughts about cloud service pricing models primarily in the Context of Nirvanix, a Cloud Storage Service Company.
Nirvanix has created an API accessiblem globally distributed, highly available storage area network. When properly integrated in any of a variety of ways to an application or work flow might be very useful and cost effective indeed. Some of the uses they list on their site are CDN Origin Storage, Digital Lockers, Online Archiving, Backups, extending storage services to managed services and SaaS, etc. However, the problem I ran into when looking at the service wasn't the service itself, but the pricing.
I looked at their pricing and projecting costs month over month at scale to use that service with any degree of certainty would be difficult at the higher levels of complexity. I'd have to estimate and add up bandwidth, media, primary storage itself, geographic co-location instances, level of extended service, methods of access, support, etc. You get the idea. It looks like they've built a service reasonably resembling a service but then gone far from a utility pricing model which makes it more difficult to cost than necessary. I just want to use the service and have the utility pricing match the utility service.
Pricing should not be this complicated. Relative to Amazon Web Services for projects that use several AWS services this one isn't so bad. But, both fail in my opinion to create a reasonable utility pricing model to go along with their utility services. Ideally, I'd prefer to see a more simple tiered rate structure based on some overall system transaction/unit of work usage metric (SPU? Storage Processing Unit?). I would tend to expect the rate to decline as my usage volume goes up to a point then probably plateau or even go up again at very high levels. Within that model I'd be able to use any of the services provided if I am paying or a reasonable subset if I'm using a starter or free level of service for a while. The point is that in just the way the cloud abstracts away some of the complexities of infrastructure it should also strive to abstract away the complexities of infrastructure pricing and offer an easily understandable model.
Nirvanix Pricing: http://www.nirvanix.com/gettingStarted.aspx
AWS Pricing: http://www.amazon.com/aws (click on various links in the infrastructure services side bar)