I always thought saw the ability to autoscale into a cloud infrastructure as a good thing. George Reese presented a differing view on the O'Reilly blog recently.
"Auto-scaling is the ability (with certain cloud infrastructure management tools like enStratus—in a limited beta through the end of the year) to add and remove capacity into a cloud infrastructure based on actual usage. No human intervention is necessary.
It sounds amazing—no more overloaded web sites. Just stick your site into the cloud and come what may! You just pay for what you use.
But I don't like auto-scaling."
While I agree with the need for an enterprise to do capacity planning, I think that the dicussion goes far beyond an overloaded website. I believe that the real value of autoscaling lies in the support of a service oriented architecture (SOA), especially when services are auto-discovered and workflows are created on the fly with mash-ups.