Brokering the Cloud

Computer hardware reached (or plummeted, depending upon your viewpoint) the level of commodity a while ago. And of course, some types of operating systems platforms, and software and applications have followed suit recently — think Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). So, it should come as no surprise to see new services arise that try to match supply and demand, and profit in the process. Welcome to the “cloud brokerage”.

[div class=attrib]From MIT Technology Review:[end-div]

Cloud computing has already made accessing computer power more efficient. Instead of buying computers, companies can now run websites or software by leasing time at data centers run by vendors like Amazon or Microsoft. The idea behind cloud brokerages is to take the efficiency of cloud computing a step further by creating a global marketplace where computing capacity can be bought and sold at auction.

Such markets offer steeply discounted rates, and they may also offer financial benefits to companies running cloud data centers, some of which are flush with excess capacity. “The more utilized you are as a [cloud services] provider … the faster return on investment you’ll realize on your hardware,” says Reuven Cohen, founder of Enomaly, a Toronto-based firm that last February launched SpotCloud, cloud computing’s first online spot market.

On SpotCloud, computing power can be bought and sold like coffee, soybeans, or any other commodity. But it’s caveat emptor for buyers, since unlike purchasing computer time with Microsoft, buying on SpotCloud doesn’t offer many contractual guarantees. There is no assurance computers won’t suffer an outage, and sellers can even opt to conceal their identity in a blind auction, so buyers don’t always know whether they’re purchasing capacity from an established vendor or a fly-by-night startup.

[div class=attrib]Read more here.[end-div]

[div class=attrib]Image courtesy of MIT Technology Review.[end-div]