Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Harry Trott, Ken Schwaber, Aruna Ravichandran, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

Licensed to Print Money (In the Cloud)

New approaches are emerging with the goal of minimizing upfront investments in both hardware and software

One of the major issues facing cloud service providers is the expense of building out infrastructure without knowing how or when revenues will follow. As a result, cloud providers are reevaluating their approach to hardware and software investments and engaging with technology and networking vendors to develop creative pricing models that are aligned with cloud business principles and engineered to reduce risks.

In a perfect world, cloud service providers would pay for infrastructure only after a customer has made a purchase - in order to maintain a tight correlation between revenues and expenses. In the real world, however, implementing this type of model is easier said than done. This was especially true during the ‘iron' age, when hardware and software were highly coupled and there were very few alternatives to big vendors that focused on selling high-dollar, high-performance networking gear.

Today, however, new approaches are emerging with the goal of minimizing upfront investments in both hardware and software. One of the most compelling new approaches takes advantage of performance improvements in server virtualization. Leveraging virtualization has several benefits, one of which is the ability to maximize the use of compute resources. Although specialized hardware can provide some performance advantages, the downside is that unused compute resources cannot be utilized or shared by other functions. For many service providers operating on thin margins, idle resources that cannot be monetized can mean the difference between profit and loss.

In contrast, virtualized server resources can be spun up and spun down to perform a wide range of functions and enable a wide selection of services. While hardware will always remain a large expense, standardizing on server virtualization generates savings in the form of volume discounts and also provides the flexibility to ensure maximum ROI is being extracted from the infrastructure. In other words, a virtual machine that ran load balancing yesterday for one customer could just as easily run application services today for a different customer.

The other major benefit of server virtualization is the ability to decouple expensive software and networking functionality from the underlying hardware. While hardware needs to be purchased up front to provide the foundation for services, software does not. Software can be purchased on demand. In fact, software can enable service providers to be real-time technology resellers - seamlessly making products from a range of technology vendors available to their customers. Or software may be purchased on demand in direct proportion to the provider's need to scale or support services purchased by their customers.

A notable example of this trend is software-based networking products - as exemplified by virtual load balancing, secure access and WAN optimization. Instead of focusing only on high-performance dedicated hardware, networking vendors now give cloud service providers the ability to run essential functions in virtualized environments on commodity servers. By giving service providers the ability to move application networking functions onto a common virtualized server infrastructure - and focusing on integration with orchestration and cloud management systems - networking vendors are giving service providers the ability to significantly lower the cost of service creation.

Although significant, this shift is only the beginning. Service providers are demanding even greater creativity from technology and networking vendors. Although virtualized solutions lower capex and opex and provide the ability to respond quickly to customer needs, they still require service providers to invest up front in costly perpetual licensing. Even with the advent of lower-cost and time-bound subscription models, service providers are still required to purchase licenses up front on the expectation of turning a profit as they resell services.

In response, some technology and networking vendors are breaking new ground and turning traditional pricing models on their heads. As an example, a vendor may charge service providers a nominal amount to run software load balancing in a virtualized environment and forgo traditional licensing schemes. In this new model, service providers pay nothing in the way of user licenses until such time as they ramp customers.

Whether the load balancing is used "under-the-cloud" to support and scale software services, or made available "over-the-cloud" as infrastructure services, these new models offer service providers "map-of-the-earth" pricing. In other words, the service provider pays the networking vendor in direct proportion to demand.

Customers simply purchase services on-demand and get charged by the service provider according to metrics such as time or bandwidth. As customers pay, the cloud service provider and application delivery networking vendor generate revenue simultaneously based upon a predetermined arrangement. Depending on the type of networking service being resold and depending on the nature of the service provider's business model, billing could be driven by throughput, users, connections or transactions per second or any variation that provides the most compelling offering to customers and the greatest margin to the service provider.

On the flip side, for these new business models to gain traction, billing and provisioning for customers, providers and vendors must be automated and integrated with service provider cloud management systems. For technology and networking vendors, that means putting as much effort into orchestration as they put into core capabilities - an effort that is well underway.

By standardizing on a common hardware architecture, leveraging virtualized to maximize ROI, decoupling hardware from software and evolving to new on-demand software business models, cloud providers gain a massive improvement in their ability to be profitable. With less risk and less outlay, service providers are better able to manage and grow their business and a rising tide lifts both service providers and technology and networking vendors. As business increases for the cloud provider, technology and networking vendors can also build automated volume discounts into the business model, which may be triggered to encourage growth and further control costs.

As cloud computing and cloud services continue to accelerate, cloud providers - whether offering software, platform or infrastructure services - are well advised to seek out technology and networking vendors with a broad suite of virtualized offerings and a willingness to work with providers on pricing strategies and business models that enhance profitability for both parties.

More Stories By Paul Andersen

Paul Andersen is the Marketing Manager at Array Networks. He has over 15 years’ experience in networking, and has served in various marketing capacities for Cisco Systems, Tasman Networks and Sun Microsystems. Mr. Andersen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from San Jose State University.

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
Providing secure, mobile access to sensitive data sets is a critical element in realizing the full potential of cloud computing. However, large data caches remain inaccessible to edge devices for reasons of security, size, format or limited viewing capabilities. Medical imaging, computer aided design and seismic interpretation are just a few examples of industries facing this challenge. Rather than fighting for incremental gains by pulling these datasets to edge devices, we need to embrace the i...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a leading digital experience intelligence company, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint Systems is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into your customer-critical services to help you consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed for digital business, C...
@ThingsExpo has been named the ‘Top WebRTC Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @ThingsExpo ranked as the number one ‘WebRTC Influencer' followed by @DevOpsSummit at 55th.
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
"What is the next step in the evolution of IoT systems? The answer is data, information, which is a radical shift from assets, from things to input for decision making," stated Michael Minkevich, VP of Technology Services at Luxoft, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions with...
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, discussed the best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...