SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Maria C. Horton, Jason Bloomberg, Andy Thurai, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Brokering Cloud Computing as a Commodity

Although the concept may have been fairly well thought out, it was way too early

I seem to keep coming back to the same question when discussing Cloud Computing. Can cloud computing be treated as a commodity that could be brokered and or exchanged? Recently a few have attempted to do this, notably a German firm called Zimory.

To give you a little background, before the development of the Enomaly ECP platform. I had the grand idea to create what I described as "Distributed Exchange (DX)" (circa 2004 - I've put the site online temporarily for demo purposes). This was actually one of the original motivations for the creation of the original ECP platform (aka Enomalism) The idea of DX was to create a platform and marketplace which would allow companies to buy and sell excess computing capacity similar to that of a commodities /exchange marketplace. Think Google Adwords & Adsense for compute capacity.

I actually put quite a bit of thought into the whole concept. Generally the concept was to use a commodity-based approach to manage computational resources for consumers in a peer-to-peer style computing grid. In turn buyers and sellers would have access to an electronic trading environment where they could bid for unused compute cycles from a Google Adwords style web interface. Consumers could bid on computing power while Computing Capacity providers offer cost-effective computational capacity on demand, thus creating a competitive computing marketplace.

Although the concept may have been fairly well thought out, it was way too early. For one thing, there was no demand for the service, and the second problem was compute capacity wasn't and still isn't an actual commodity which can be supplied without qualitative differentiation across the greater cloud computing market. Basically there is no basis for an apples to apples comparison.

Wikipedia describes a commodity

as "a product that is the same no matter who produces it, such as petroleum, notebook paper, or milk. In other words, copper is copper. The price of copper is universal, and fluctuates daily based on global supply and demand. Stereos, on the other hand, have many levels of quality. And, the better a stereo is [perceived to be], the more it will cost."

Another major limiting factor for treating cloud capacity as a commodity is that there are no standards for cloud capacity and therefore there is no effective way for users to compare it among cloud providers. With out this standardization there is no way to determine optimal cloud capacity requirements for particular application demands and thus determine the optimal price & costing. In order to overcome this, I believe a Standardized Cloud Performance Measurement and Rating System (SCPM) will need to be created which would form a basis of measurement through an aggregate performance benchmark.

As an example a cloud provider may want to use some aggregate performance metrics as a basis of comparing themselves to other providers. For example, Cloud A (High End) has 1,000 servers and fibre channel, Provider B (Commodity) has 50,000 servers but uses direct attached storage. Both are useful but for different reasons. If I want performance I pick Cloud A, if I want massive scale I pick Cloud B. Think of it like the food guide on back of your cereal box. This may provide the basis for determine the value and therefore a cost for the cloud capacity.

This has been one of the motivations behind the creation of an open standard for cloud computing capacity called the Universal Compute Unit (UcU) and it's inverse Universal Compute Cycle (UCC). An open standard unit of measurement (with benchmarking tools) which would allow providers, enablers and consumers to be able to easily, quickly and efficiently access auditable compute capacity with the knowledge that 1 UcU is the same regardless of the cloud provider. (See my previous posts on the subject)

I also believe that the creation of cloud exchanges & brokerage services has less to do with the technology and more to do with the concept of trust and accountability. If I'm going to buy a certain amount of regional cloud capacity ahead of time for my Christmas rush. I want to rest assured that the capacity will be actually available with an agreed upon quality and service level. I also need to be assured that the exchange is financially stable / adequately capitalized and will remain in business for the foreseeable future.

I've never been a particularly big fan of regulation, but given the potential for fraud some oversight may be required to assure a fair and balanced playing field. If we truly want to enable a cloud computing exchange / marketplace another option might be to build upon existing exchange platforms with a proven history. A platform with an existing level of trust, governance and compliance.

More Stories By Reuven Cohen

An instigator, part time provocateur, bootstrapper, amateur cloud lexicographer, and purveyor of random thoughts, 140 characters at a time.

Reuven is an early innovator in the cloud computing space as the founder of Enomaly in 2004 (Acquired by Virtustream in February 2012). Enomaly was among the first to develop a self service infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform (ECP) circa 2005. As well as SpotCloud (2011) the first commodity style cloud computing Spot Market.

Reuven is also the co-creator of CloudCamp (100+ Cities around the Globe) CloudCamp is an unconference where early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas and is the largest of the ‘barcamp’ style of events.

Latest Stories
"Cloud computing is certainly changing how people consume storage, how they use it, and what they use it for. It's also making people rethink how they architect their environment," stated Brad Winett, Senior Technologist for DDN Storage, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Sold by Nutanix, Nutanix Mine with Veeam can be deployed in minutes and simplifies the full lifecycle of data backup operations, including on-going management, scaling and troubleshooting. The offering combines highly-efficient storage working in concert with Veeam Backup and Replication, helping customers achieve comprehensive data protection for all their workloads — virtual, physical and private cloud —to meet increasing business demands for uptime and productivity.
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
According to the IDC InfoBrief, Sponsored by Nutanix, “Surviving and Thriving in a Multi-cloud World,” multicloud deployments are now the norm for enterprise organizations – less than 30% of customers report using single cloud environments. Most customers leverage different cloud platforms across multiple service providers. The interoperability of data and applications between these varied cloud environments is growing in importance and yet access to hybrid cloud capabilities where a single appl...
"At the keynote this morning we spoke about the value proposition of Nutanix, of having a DevOps culture and a mindset, and the business outcomes of achieving agility and scale, which everybody here is trying to accomplish," noted Mark Lavi, DevOps Solution Architect at Nutanix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
@CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX, two of the most influential technology events in the world, have hosted hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors since our launch 10 years ago. @CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX New York and Silicon Valley provide a full year of face-to-face marketing opportunities for your company. Each sponsorship and exhibit package comes with pre and post-show marketing programs. By sponsoring and exhibiting in New York and Silicon Valley, you reach a full complement of decision makers and buyers in ...
In today's always-on world, customer expectations have changed. Competitive differentiation is delivered through rapid software innovations, the ability to respond to issues quickly and by releasing high-quality code with minimal interruptions. DevOps isn't some far off goal; it's methodologies and practices are a response to this demand. The demand to go faster. The demand for more uptime. The demand to innovate. In this keynote, we will cover the Nutanix Developer Stack. Built from the foundat...
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin, ...
"We were founded in 2003 and the way we were founded was about good backup and good disaster recovery for our clients, and for the last 20 years we've been pretty consistent with that," noted Marc Malafronte, Territory Manager at StorageCraft, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., discussed how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advantage ...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, highlighted the current challenges of these transformative technologies and shared strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” outlined the latest trends and developments i...