17 February 2011 – Like oil or pork bellies, computing capacity is now a tradable commodity. February 14th saw the launch of SpotCloud, the world’s first spot market for cloud computing. It works much like other spot markets. Firms with excess computing capacity, such as data centres, put it up for sale. Others, which have a short-term need for some number-crunching, can bid for it. Enomaly, the software firm behind SpotCloud, takes a cut of between 10% and 30%, depending on the size of the deal.
SpotCloud differs from other spot markets in that it is “opaque”: the firms offering capacity do not have to reveal their identity. The idea is to attract firms that also sell premium computing services, which might want to offload unused capacity cheaply but do not want to cannibalise their main business.
The service is technically surprising. Enomaly did not build a big central infrastructure, because the bandwidth demands “would have killed us”, says Reuven Cohen, the firm’s founder. Instead, it works with Google App Engine, another cloud-computing provider, which gives Enomaly access to a … Read more