Software Pricing Starts to Catch Up to Cloud Computing

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One of the more confounding aspects of cloud computing is that software pricing is frequently out of sync with the way hardware is acquired. IT organizations can easily pay for hardware on an hourly, monthly or yearly basis. Software pricing, on the other hand, has generally remained tied to the number of processors being used on a yearly basis.

OpSource, a unit of the IT services firm Dimension Data, is taking that issue on starting today with the release of OpSource Cloud Software, an offering that allows customers to consume Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint and eventually other database and middleware platforms on a pay-for-use basis that can be priced hourly or monthly.

According to Keao Caindec, chief marketing officer for OpSource, this shift to giving customers a usage software-pricing model for software consumed in the cloud is long overdue. As a unit of Dimension Data, OpSource is leveraging special pricing and payment options that Microsoft provides business partners to resell its software as a service.

Over time, OpSource expects to make available usage-based software services from a number of software vendors, which Caindec says will be one thing that ultimately differentiates OpSource from vendors that have set up cloud computing services based only on the stack of software they have developed.

It's too early to say how many IT organizations will prefer this approach to software consumption, but it should have a major impact on the way revenue is recognized by software vendors in the years ahead. In the meantime, Caindec says that anybody looking to deploy a new SaaS application is going to see paying for infrastructure hardware and software using the same pricing model SaaS applications are sold under as a definite plus.