Lowering your IT costs by using others' excess capacity

SpotCloud offers an alternative -- that can earn IT money -- to Amazon's EC2, but consider these issues before you jump in

Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) vendor Enomaly has established a marketplace to buy and sell unused computing resources. Dubbed SpotCloud, the new beta service has the potential of helping IT departments reduce costs while also increasing revenue potential. Is SpotCloud right for your business?

Creating a win-win-win scenario for buyers, sellers, and Enomaly

SpotCloud offers companies with unused computing resources an opportunity to convert these idle resources into an income stream. Sellers have the ability to define capacity quotas, utilization levels, duration, and pricing.

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With SpotCloud, buyers can search for computing resources based on processing power, pricing, and the physical location of the computing resource. Buyers can also access short-term computing resources for significantly less than purchasing the resources in-house or through a third-party cloud computing provider. Enomaly claims buyers using SpotCloud can save up to 60 percent.

Although Amazon.com does offer a spot market for its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) platform, the resources available are from a single market participant: Amazon.com. SpotCloud aims to create an efficient -- that is, competitively priced -- market by attracting a large number of buyers and sellers. For creating this marketplace, providing the software to enable sellers to securely make their excess computing resources available, and handling billing and payments, Enomaly keeps between 10 to 30 percent of the seller's revenue.

On paper, it's a win-win-win scenario for all parties involved. But there are a few considerations before jumping into the marketplace.

Cloud lock-in: The proverbial question

Sellers offering computing resources must support a compatible IaaS platform for making these resources usable and providing usage tracking in a standardized fashion.

SpotCloud currently supports only the company's own Enomaly Elastic Computing Platform (ECP). Enomaly offers a limited version of ECP for SpotCloud sellers to use at no charge. SpotCloud expects to add support for other IaaS platforms in the coming weeks. As this occurs, sellers will have additional reassurances about reduced lock-in.

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