AWS re:Invent looms larger on the calendar with each passing day, promising not just an avalanche of new services but also–let’s face it–some truly perplexing names. However, the oddity of AWS service names is low-hanging fruit. The true enigma lies in their labyrinthine pricing dimensions.

Gone are the days when “instance hours” and “gigabyte months” were the only units of cloud measurement we had to worry about. Now, we grapple with constructs like “I/O Operations” and “LCUs,” which depend on multiple dimensions tied to your choice of Load Balancer. The downside of these obscure metrics is not their complexity per se, but their disconnect from any intuitive understanding of application resource consumption. More often than not, the only way to gauge what a workload will cost on AWS is to deploy it, let it run, and then consult your bill. This is hardly sustainable.

Amazon isn’t completely oblivious to this struggle. Earlier this year, they launched Amazon Aurora I/O Optimized, a variation that eliminates the fee-per-million-I/O-requests for a modest 30% increase in instance cost. The simplicity in pricing was enough to attract customers like Open Raven, who not only achieved better cost predictability but also enjoyed a 60% reduction in their expenses.

In anticipation of the next wave of pricing complexity, I aim to outdo AWS by inventing an even more absurd pricing metric: the Terabyte-Pound-Month.

AWS’s lineup includes physical devices like Snowcones, which fit on your desk; Snowballs, which fit in your office; Snowmobiles, which fit in your loading dock; and Outposts, which fit in your data centers. These offerings come with a fixed monthly charge, storage capacity, and–since they’re physically shipped–a weight. Disregarding the anomaly of the first month’s charges, let’s examine cost through the lens of weight, yielding our new metric: the Terabyte-Pound-Month.

OfferingCost per Terabyte-Pound-Month
Outpost Rack (OR-HUZEI16)$0.90

Before you take these numbers as absolute gospel, please note that they are representative configurations; for numbers specific to your exact requirements, please reach out to your AWS Account Team with what is guaranteed to be the most surreal request they get all year. Also be sure to note your operating altitude, as these values are normalized for the product weights at sea-level.

By standardizing costs in terms of weight, AWS customers can now more easily calculate their monthly storage cost-to-weight ratio. This new metric will undoubtedly make it simpler for customers to plan their infrastructure–even down to ensuring their floors can withstand the hardware they’re deploying.

I’ll see you at re:Invent, where I can’t wait to learn more.