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Analysis

SpotCloud aims to create online spot market for buying and selling cloud capacity
Dana Gardner By: Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst, Interarbor Solutions
Published: 2nd November 2010
Copyright Interarbor Solutions © 2010
Logo for Interarbor Solutions

What if you could buy and sell cloud-computing capacity the same way people book hotel rooms on Priceline or Hotwire? Startup SpotCloud, the brainchild of Toronto-based Enomaly, aims to find out.

Acting as an online clearing house, SpotCloud will allow cloud providers to offer unused capacity to keep servers busy and will allow cloud users to buy spot cloud capacity at bargain prices.

SpotCloud uses the concept of Random Access Compute Capacity, similar to cloud bursting or the dynamic deployment of a software application that runs on internal organizational compute resources to a public cloud to address a spike in demand.

However, unlike cloud bursting, which refers strictly to expanding the application to an external cloud to handle spikes in demand, SpotCloud's cloud spanning includes scenarios in which applications components are continuously distributed across multiple localized cloud providers.

The capacity itself is provided via a global pool of regional cloud providers. SpotCloud treats providers as a nameless, faceless, and possibly unsecured group of providers of raw, localized computing capability. While buyers can purchase capacity based on performance and price and the location of the provider, the name of the provider remains hidden until after the purchase is made. This is to prevent undercutting the provider's retail sales of capacity.

Wasted capacity
According to Reuven Cohen, founder and chief technologist of Enomaly, the idea came about because of numerous cloud providers whose companies—often the first such enterprise in their respective countries—weren't well known and had excess capacity. With no way to make themselves known to potential buyers on a broad scale, they were watching that capacity go to waste.

At the same time, cost-conscious buyers would benefit from being able to make quick purchases of capacity, as well as location, at favorable prices. Selecting a provider becomes easier with the clearing house, because potential buyers don't need to scour the Internet looking for potential providers. Also, buyers can continually monitor the site and determine the best price at which to buy computing resources.

The process becomes easier for both sides because SpotCloud will provide the invoicing and billing. Providers avoid the hassle of trying to bill customers for small spot jobs, and buyers, who may spread their cloud use among several providers, will have to deal with only one payment. SpotCloud will make its money by charging a fee to the seller.

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