Providing Differentiated Services in the Cloud

Michael Vizard

In the land grab that has pretty much been the hallmark of most vendor approaches to cloud computing, there's been very little appreciation for the nuanced needs of specific types of customers.


But as cloud computing services mature, it's pretty clear that the providers of these services are soon going to focus on providing differentiated types of services to different classes of customers.


For example, BlueLock, which offers cloud computing services based on virtualization software from VMware, today will announce at the VMware Partner Exchange conference in Las Vegas a BlueLock CloudSuite, which consists of an entry-level self-service offering, an enterprise-class edition and a professional services edition. In addition, BlueLock also allows customers to use its integration software to build private clouds on BlueLock infrastructure or on their own systems.


As time goes on, BlueLock will make the integration between these different classes of services more seamless, said Brian Wolff, BlueLock vice president of sales of marketing. The basic idea is that customers may know what they need for a class of service initially, but over time those circumstances can change. So BlueLock will provide customers a level of service tailored to each specific application, said Wolff.


As cloud computing providers move to create set levels of services, they are essentially turning cloud computing services into discrete levels of products. Like all products, these offerings will be affected by the laws of diminishing returns, which means the longer the service is in existence, the greater the pressure will be on pricing.


In effect, what we're starting to see is the evolution of cloud computing services into a commodity that will ultimately lead to the creation of exchanges where suppliers of these services will essentially bid to fulfill compute cycle orders on demand.



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Feb 8, 2010 6:04 AM Kent Langley Kent Langley  says:

I certainly agree somewhat with your position that focus on differentiated services is important as opposed to certain "land grab" approaches.  As one of the co-founders of nScaled and LegalCloud we recognized some time ago that different types of businesses would need different levels and types of services.  Our offerings are very specifically created from both a business and technical standpoint to meet the needs of our clients.

I'm not so sure we're ready for a real commodities exchange for the exact same reason you say clouds need to differentiate.  Even within specific types of customers there is significant variation in the types, quantities, and levels of sophistication needed in a cloud service they wish to consume.  The individual needs of many businesses just isn't standardized enough at this point to standardize the services they wish to provision.  While I think maybe someday in the future things will improve, it's not there today or in the near future.  The granularity of services and SLA's needed to serve a wide variety of client needs across and up and down industry verticals is going to keep a true commodity exchange at bay for a while longer.

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