The World’s First Vendor-Neutral Marketplace for IaaS Resources

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Sebastian Zilch

As the cloud computing market matures, companies are exploring different business models to draw in the expanding customer base. One of the more promising is the cloud computing exchange, a model that takes its cue from financial commodity exchanges. German-based Deutsche Börse Group, a market organizer, is looking to use its expertise to set up such an exchange for cloud infrastructure. Known as Deutsche Börse Cloud Exchange, it is being promoted as "the world’s first vendor-neutral marketplace for IaaS resources.

 

Sebastian Zilch, who heads up the business development for the exchange, will present Deutsche Börse's IaaS platform on September 23rd at the upcoming ISC'13 Cloud Conference in Heidelberg, Germany.  To get a preview of session, we ask Zilch about the rationale behind its new business and when we can expect to see the exchange go live.


Can you briefly describe your IaaS business model for the cloud exchange?

 

Zilch: Deutsche Börse Cloud Exchange AG is establishing a vendor-neutral marketplace to connect buyers and consumers of cloud resources. In the first phase, these cloud resources are comprised of IaaS resources only. One of the prerequisites of an exchange-based marketplace is the creation of standardized commodities. All standards for tradable IaaS resources are defined and controlled by the neutral cloud exchange, making it easier for buyers to compare offerings and for sellers to structure and operate their infrastructure.


What are the benefits of a vendor-neutral model versus a traditional cloud infrastructure offering?

 

Zilch: We will create a competitive environment where prices are determined by supply and demand. In an ideal world we have full transparency over prices and offerings, which, in the end, leads to a higher adoption rate of cloud computing technologies and is beneficial for both consumers and providers.

The regulation of an exchange also enforces the adoption of standards for avoiding vendor-lock in. The “One Cloud” concept allows services and workloads to be easily migrated between different providers. By ensuring consistent Performance Units, companies can now purchase cloud services with a high degree of confidence and understand what kind of service they can expect.


Deutsche Börse AG is a financial trading firm.  What skills and resources does it bring to the cloud trading business and what does the company expect to get out of it?

 

Zilch: As a leading global financial market operator, Deutsche Börse AG is always in search of new opportunities enabling the introduction of new commodities and financial products. With its expertise to organize markets as well as the trust that an exchange brings along, Deusche Börse is able to act as a catalyst for the entire industry.


What key piece does the Zimory technology offer?

 

Zilch: As a market place we want to keep control of parts of the delivery chain in order to monitor the delivery or provisioning of the cloud resources, so-called “settlement.” As Deutsche Börse Cloud Exchange's technology partner, Zimory provides the settlement software. The settlement technology is agnostic to different cloud management stacks, for example, vCloud or OpenStack, and provides high flexibility for providers and consumers to integrate within the marketplace.


What is the biggest challenge in lining up buyers and sellers of cloud infrastructure?

 

Zilch: The interest has been overwhelming at this point. However, the biggest challenge is to merge two different worlds, namely the ICT industry and the financial services world. This paradigm shift requires a new mindset, but will enforce a decent variety of business models in the ecosystem throughout the cloud exchange.


What is the status of the venture today and when do you expect to formally launch the service?

 

Zilch: At present, Deutsche Börse Cloud Exchange AG is testing its technical specifications and processes together with its early adopter group comprising providers, consumers, and brokers. It is planned to go live in the marketplace, at earliest, in Q1 2014.

 

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