Cloud Buyers Unite

Michael Vizard

Although just about everybody thinks cloud computing in one form or another is a good idea, a lot of issues still need to be worked out. Unfortunately, most of these issues can't be worked out until some consensus is achieved across the organizations that buy and sell cloud computing services.

A new organization trying to drive that consensus is the Enterprise Cloud Buyers Council (ECBC), which is dedicated to representing the interests of corporate entities using cloud computing services. Right now, the organization only has a handful of members, which include Deutsche Bank and Bank of America. But at the upcoming Management World 2010 conference in Nice, France, Eric Pulier, the executive director of the ECBC says the organization expects to have well over a dozen additional companies that buy cloud computing services on board.

Of course, the ECBC has already signed up a number of cloud computing service providers, who as class of companies are viewing the evolution of ECBC with mixed emotions. Pulier, who also serves as CEO of ServiceMesh, a company that provides tools for automating the management of cloud computing services, wants ECBC to be a mechanism for making sure that terms and conditions associated with cloud computing are transparent to customers, that there are standard units of pricing, and that there are no vendor lock-ins around a particular cloud computing implementation.

It's obvious that the ability to move applications across various cloud computing services is intrinsic to the business model of ServiceMesh. But Pulier adds that it is in the interest of IT organizations to make sure there is as much transparency as possible when it comes to cloud computing because in the very near future internal IT organizations running private clouds are going to discover that their organizations are competing with third-party cloud computing services. That competition needs to be as fair as possible, making sure that cloud computing service providers are not using terms and conditions to obscure the real cost of their services.

Ultimately, Pulier says cloud computing represents an opportunity to avoid the mistakes of the past by creating a more efficient ecosystem. This challenge is creating a vehicle that provides a place for all the interested parties on the demand side of the equation to first voice their concerns, and then ultimately set de facto reference implementations that will guide the future of cloud computing

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