Cloud Computing has been the catch phrase in IT over the last years. IT resources are more and more used or rented out in relatively small increments while hosted in large centralized data centers leveraging the economies of scale.
This has resulted in productivity applications such as google apps being available for replacing local installations. There are even products from ActiveVideo to move TV into the Cloud. Besides these, mostly web browser based, solutions this trend has been extremely cost effective in, for example, simulations such as CFD applications where the need for resources can be large for a limited time.
The cloud allows for sharing resources and the model allows companies to build an infrastructure which can be sold in fractions to a large and diverse set of customers. The logical next step is trading the resources required by Cloud users. Limited marketplaces have been available for a while now. For example Amazon and ComputeNext offer bulletin board style spot markets. Deployment details and location differences can still lead to some lock-in.
Recently both CME and Deutsche Boerse have started a Cloud Exchange. This makes sense as Cloud Computing resources, if well defined, can be an easily traded commodity and many CIOs would love to be able to trade their compute resources like a commodity.
Do Cloud Exchanges make sense? Yes they do, computing power has become an important economical factor and putting it on an exchange will create opportunities for profit and cost saving for suppliers, users and ultimately traders.
What will be required to make this work? I have already mentioned standardization, the unit for trading will need to be standardized. Standards for very high volume and lower volumes are likely to differ. The UCX uses 6fusions WAC unit for their contracts. DBCE uses sizes along the lines of OpenStack Flavors. So no standard between exchanges has been found yet.
The way these resources are delivered (made available) to the end user will require some work. This will be a challenge for the IT industry where deployment concepts, tools and methods can vary heavily today.
Do Cloud exchanges have a future? I say yes, and probably a bright one. Cloud Exchanges are the logical next step. How the required standards will evolve will be interesting to follow and how the different exchanges address these requirements, we are not there yet.