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Re: [Xen-users] crazy SWAP and RAM idea

yeah, but if there was a real business model behind this, there would be
enough RAM. The challenge is interesting and worth thinking
about, but should not exist in a real business world... But that isn't to
say people won't do it. There are idiots and a*holes all over the planet
that will take your money and give you trash or trash-service for it.

I think a real business model for this is possible in theory, but perhaps impractical in practice. If the provider could charge per megabyte-minute, and assuming they had a box many times larger than what any one customer needed, and assuming all customers had peaky usage with different peaks, then the provider could squeeze slightly more out of it's hardware with a system like this. Of course, at the cost of reliability; if too many other customers ran over their normal utilization, a customer with normal utilization couldn't burst. This could work well for shell servers for guys like me that occasionally want to compile a kernel but usually don't use anything heavier than pine, or people like one of my dedicated server customers that runs a normally almost idle blog, but who occasionally get linked by digg.

In fact, that might be more realistic than I thought- what if instead of making the ram allocation automatic, you had a simple web/billing interface to the balloon driver? set it up so a customer can buy more ram for a period of several days, up to the amount of ram you have uncommitted. I bet most virtual server providers usually have at least half a server free; with live migration and this billing -> balloon driver interface, they could be making money off that, and allowing users with temporarily high resource needs to get what they want without committing to a long-term plan.

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