As we move toward this whole notion of paying for IT as a service, one of the things that most IT organizations are overlooking is exactly how the billing process will be handled.
Many IT service providers have cobbled together their own billing applications and there is no real visibility into how billing is managed.
Today at the VMworld 2010 conference, Aria Systems, a provider of billing system for cloud computing, highlighted this issue when it announced support for the VMware vCloud Director. Aria will provide the service, Aria Cloud Revenue Adapter, that will tie VMware's new orchestration software for the cloud into the Aria billing system.
According to Aria Systems Chairman Ed Sullivan, without a standard approach to billing, auditing what IT services were used when is at the discretion of the cloud computing provider. As cloud computing evolves, Sullivan says customers will demand access to third-party billing systems that are trusted and easily verifiable.
We're still in the early stages of cloud computing, so little thought has been applied to standardized billing processes. But someone has to determine how it will be paid for in a way that dynamically scales with actual usage once IT organizations get beyond dealing with a handful of cloud computing providers.
The onus, of course, for deploying these billing systems is on the cloud computing providers. But internal IT organizations need to make sure that these billing systems are not only transparent, but can also survive the test of inevitable audit.