Welcome!

Virtualization Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Rick Delgado

Related Topics: Cloud Expo

Cloud Expo: Blog Feed Post

Cloud Brokerage: The Market Unified

Commodity brokers don’t own the transport system for the market

This is Part III in a series by 6fusion Co-founder and CEO John Cowan on the emerging trend of Cloud Brokerage and the impact it will have on the technology industry and markets. Be sure to check out Part I of the series here and Part II here.

The feedback and fallout from Part II of this post has been quite interesting.  I thought for sure the bulk of the flack I would have to take would be from the cloud vendor incumbents I said would be relegated to the world of retail cloud business.  But since I posted my perspective I’ve found myself digging in to the nature of the Total Addressable Market (TAM) for the Cloud Brokerage industry.

For those of you keeping score at home, I said the market for cloud brokerage is more that 10 times the market for cloud computing software and related services.

Yes, 10 times.

And it is because this market is so big that cloud brokerage will spawn the next generation of technology innovation.

But before I get to the underlying technologies that are on the horizon and necessary for the future that I, along with my collaborators, envision, let me first spend a few paragraphs to explain why I am not just pulling numbers out of my, um, ‘IaaS’.

On the 6fusion iNode Network the median server in production in the cloud is a quad core dual processor unit with an average of 4TBs of available storage.  Using this standard configuration, partners and customers yield approximately $42,000 per year in net billable proceeds. I would classify that number, give or take on either side of it, to be a reasonable annual revenue estimation.

IDC recently reported that the 2011 server shipments topped out at 8.3 million units.  At a $42K clip, that is a market growing by a healthy $350 billion each year.

But of course, as we all know, server shelf life is not exactly the same as what you’d expect from a box of Krusty-O’s from the Kwik-E-Mart.

A quick trip down the hall to Gary Morris’s office at 6fusion is always an educational adventure.  “Depreciation,” Gary explains, “is a systematic and rational process of distributing the cost of tangible assets over the life of those assets. US GAAP calls for depreciation of servers using the server’s cost, estimated useful life and residual value. Typically, computers, software and equipment are depreciated over a period of 1 to 5 years, with the average useful life being 3 years.”

If we take Gary’s use of the GAAP average as a multiplier, it means there is estimated to be over $1trillion in billable utility computing presently in use around the world.

The point here is that cloud brokerage is underpinned by the availability of both private and public compute, network and storage resources.  And it is this massive untapped market that will drive the next wave of innovation.

If the origins of the cloud business belonged to the innovation of companies like Amazon, Rackspace and VMware, then the future of the cloud brokerage belongs to a new cadre of agnostic intermediaries that will enable a true utility computing marketplace to flourish.

The unification of the market is what I refer to as the point in time at which cloud computing technologies in production today can be used to interface to the commodity market.  In order for that to happen, cloud brokerage as an industry must form and deliver the underlying technologies necessary to make a true market.

Just what are these technologies?  Let’s take a look at three areas of innovation that will underpin the future of the utility computing.

Cloud brokerage technologies are best considered in the context of supply, demand and delivery.

Universal Resource Metering: Quantification of Demand and Supply

I delivered a presentation in Asia a few weeks ago and I opened with a slide that had two simple definitions:  Utility and Commodity.

A Utility, I paraphrased, “is a service provided by organizations that are consumed by a public audience.”

A Commodity, according to common definition, “is a class of goods or services that is supplied without qualitative differentiation.”

Theoretically, you can have a utility without it necessarily being commodity.  But it rarely ever works that way because in order to have a utility in the way we think about the utilities we consume every day, you must have scale.   And in order to achieve scale, the utility must be pervasive and uniform.  One should not require any special skills in order to use it.  It must be simple and consistent to use.   Think about your interaction with things like power or water services or subscribing to the Internet.

Utility is a word used quite often to describe the cloud.   In a post a couple months ago Simon Wardley aptly explained the difference between the cloud and a computer utility.  The difference, says Wardley, is really only that “cloud was simply a word used by people to explain something that really wasn’t well understood to people who were even more confused than they were.”

So is the cloud really a computer ‘utility’?  Not yet.

You see, what the cloud is missing is the factor that truly negates qualitative differentiation – common measurement. You simply cannot claim something to be a true utility if every provider measures services differently.  Common utilities all share the characteristic of universal measurement.  Think about it.  Power. Water.  Energy.  The Internet.  Whatever.

A standardized unit of measurement for the computer utility will be one of the greatest innovations to come from the emerging market for cloud brokerage because it will establish basis from which a commodity market can emerge.

Cloud Infrastructure Federation: Tapping Global Supply

When you buy corn or wheat or soybeans by contract on a commodity exchange today, you don’t buy a brand.   You buy a commodity.  Cloud brokers of the future will move commodities, not brands.   Today, cloud brokers form ‘partnerships’ with service providers.   But for a true brokerage model to blossom, there can be no possibility for vendor discrimination.  Anyone that brings product to market can and should trade it.  The denial of interoperability cannot happen.

With this in mind true cloud brokers will overcome the interoperability hurdle through collaboration and cooperation.   This doesn’t mean ascribing to one API framework or another, regardless of how high and mighty the leading retail cloud properties might become.   It means absolving oneself from the politics of the API game completely.

The Underlying Transport System:  Delivering the Commodity

It doesn’t always happen, but when a commodity contract comes due, something must be delivered.   The party that holds the paper for a hundred thousand units of corn must be able to take possession of it.  Modern commodity markets are supported by an elaborate network of supply chain delivery systems – from tankers to trains and transport trucks.

The equivalent underlying transport system must exist for the cloud infrastructure market.

Commodity brokers don’t own the transport system for the market.   And for good reason.  However, if you subscribe to the early analyst view of cloud brokerage, they do.   The analysts see brokers facilitating the transaction and delivering the compute commodity itself.   To me, they either don’t fully grasp the potential of the broker or they are describing something all together different.

Cloud interoperability is not a new concept.  It has been bandied about the blogosphere for several years already.  The problem to date is that such movements have been nothing more than thinly veiled product sales pitches.  The cloud brokers of the future will drive the innovation to construct the underlying transport system to “connect the clouds.”

In the final part of this series I will explore the future state of cloud computing; a world where the immovable IT asset becomes movable in a commodity exchange.

More Stories By John Cowan

John Cowan is co-founder and CEO of 6fusion. John is credited as 6fusion's business model visionary, bridging concepts and services behind cloud computing to the IT Service channel. In 2008, he along with his 6fusion collaborators successfully launched the industry's first single unit of meausurement for x86 computing, known as the Workload Allocation Cube (WAC). John is a 12 year veteran of business and product development within the IT and Telecommunications sectors and a graduate of Queen's University at Kingston.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Be Among the First 100 to Attend & Receive a Smart Beacon. The Physical Web is an open web project within the Chrome team at Google. Scott Jenson leads a team that is working to leverage the scalability and openness of the web to talk to smart devices. The Physical Web uses bluetooth low energy beacons to broadcast an URL wirelessly using an open protocol. Nearby devices can find all URLs in the room, rank them and let the user pick one from a list. Each device is, in effect, a gateway to a web page. This unlocks entirely new use cases so devices can offer tiny bits of information or simple i...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
TechCrunch reported that "Berlin-based relayr, maker of the WunderBar, an Internet of Things (IoT) hardware dev kit which resembles a chunky chocolate bar, has closed a $2.3 million seed round, from unnamed U.S. and Switzerland-based investors. The startup had previously raised a €250,000 friend and family round, and had been on track to close a €500,000 seed earlier this year — but received a higher funding offer from a different set of investors, which is the $2.3M round it’s reporting."
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. Over the summer Gartner released its much anticipated annual Hype Cycle report and the big news is that Internet of Things has now replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. Indeed, we're hearing more and more about this fascinating new technological paradigm. Every other IT news item seems to be about IoT and its implications on the future of digital busines...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The Internet of Things needs an entirely new security model, or does it? Can we save some old and tested controls for the latest emerging and different technology environments? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, will review hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal privacy options and a new risk balance you might not expect.
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.
Swiss innovators dizmo Inc. launches its ground-breaking software, which turns any digital surface into an immersive platform. The dizmo platform seamlessly connects digital and physical objects in the home and at the workplace. Dizmo breaks down traditional boundaries between device, operating systems, apps and software, transforming the way users work, play and live. It supports orchestration and collaboration in an unparalleled way enabling any data to instantaneously be accessed on any surface, anywhere and made interactive. Dizmo brings fantasies as seen in Sci-fi movies such as Iro...