It just sits there and rakes in money for you as users get provisioned, use the space and get billed: that's the message EMC is pushing to cloud service providers with a new VMAX bundle of array, software and services. VMAX SP – for service providers – is a VMAX array packaged with software and services at four levels to help …
do they have pricing based on utilization?
I've been told it has rarely been used but HP has a model where you get X amount of storage and you pay for what is written, which sounds like a good model for service providers. You can leverage wide striping of say the 3PAR platform (or VMAX if EMC has a similar pricing model available) for good performance from day 1 and are able to spread the costs out as you add in customers. vs a more traditional approach where you may not be able to afford to buy one of those $1M arrays up front and instead start out really small - and the I/O penalty you pay for being small and have a more difficult time building up.
Per the HP program I don't know the details around it, there may be minimum level commitments over time and stuff. The program might of even have existed in 3PAR prior to being bought by HP I don't know, I first heard about it last fall.
3PAR of course has had self provisioning via the Virtual domain software package for years now (up to 1,024 management domains in an array) - though I don't believe there is any specific integration with fancy APIs or metering stuff specific to service providers.
What isn't cloud?
This is one of those situations where you have to ask if anything on the market isn't "cloud." VMAX is proprietary, monolithic, the underlying OS is 20 years old. It seems to be the opposite of the architecture the "cloud" companies, e.g. Google, Yahoo, fb, Amazon, etc, use for their storage. They use commodity disk behind commodity x86 controllers/servers (no SSD or high RPM SAS or proprietary ASICs) and then use something like the Hadoop file system and Map Reduce to spread the data across a number of small modules. Each modules works on its on small piece of the IO and the power of parallel processing creates the performance.
If you want metering, buy some metering software... don't buy a storage architecture for one software function.