Utility Metered Cloud

John Cowan

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By the time this blog post hits the airwaves, 6fusion will have launched it’s second major software product in the first 45 days of 2012. For those of you that run start up software companies, you know what kind of pace it means. To be perfectly transparent, things are, well, nucking futs inside our little company.

The product we launched simultaneously at VMworld Partner Exchange in Las Vegas and Cloud Connect in Santa Clara is called 6fusion Cloud Resource Meter (for VMware vSphere) – more on the vSphere part later.

I wanted to take a few written words to explain a few things about the product and the product strategy. It’s easy to get lost in the noise of the daily product announcements in the cloud space in general but I think this release deserves pause for consideration of what exactly the product does and what it means, and why we chose to launch and support the VMware ecosystem first (‘cause we could have done it with any number of products, and soon will).

In the simplest sense the Cloud Resource Meter integrates 6fusion’s core intellectual property natively within the VMware vSphere software console.  6fusion’s core intellectual property, of course, is the Workload Allocation Cube (WAC). The WAC is the 2004 brainchild of yours truly and my business partner (whom I often call the best kept secret in the cloud computing business) Delano Seymour. The WAC is a dynamic single unit of measurement that encompasses compute, network and storage utilization. We wrote the original algorithm to simplify our ability to meter and bill our private IT customers on the multi-tenant host we had created with ESX 1.0.  I first wrote publicly about the algorithm’s use to ‘profile’ apps and the importance of ubiquitous utility metering three years ago. Since 2008 the WAC has powered 6fusion’s proprietary cloud federation platform, called UC6.

So now anybody that owns VMware vSphere 4.1 or later can download a vApp and have the power of the WAC – for free. The WAC shows the customer the granular resource consumption of every single VM under management – instantly.

The problem with current ‘chargeback’ tools and software is their complexity and lack of scope. Complex to design. Complex to implement. And even when implemented, the methodology is relevant only within the four walls of the customer that programmed the complexity.

The WAC is different because it is the first ‘universal’ algorithm.  It meters the consumption and utilization of infrastructure not just within the enterprise IT space, but also the multi-tenant host market emerging as ‘cloud providers’.  Why use the WAC to meter and bill your VMware infrastructure?  Because the WAC is the algorithm your potential multi-tenant hosts use to price their services.

Ah, yes. The penny drops.

The WAC utilization data provides an instant ‘profile’ of my workload requirements, which can then be easily matched to an appropriate host should I decide it more effective to use “the cloud.” This provides a true apples-to-apples comparison of running your workloads in your environment or in the “cloud” and gives you the knowledge you need to optimize your IT operations.

So, why choose to integrate this technology with VMware vSphere out of the gate?  Why not other virtualization platforms?  Why not emerging open source plays like ‘OpenStack’?

The answer is really quite simple.

VMware, despite the growing amount of backlash they get for becoming the big vendor on the block, represents the single largest footprint to penetrate the Total Addressable Market (TAM) for metered infrastructure.  Say what you want about VMware, but the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of businesses – of all sizes – use VMware technology to virtualize privately owned hardware assets. And for 6fusion, this is a significant portion of the infrastructure TAM that we find compelling.

Having said that, the operative phrase here is “out of the gate”.  As 2012 progresses look to see Cloud Resource Meter integrated into a number of virtualization and cloud software stacks!

By John Cowan, 6fusion Co-founder and CEO

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John Cowan is co-founder and CEO of 6fusion. John is credited as 6fusion's business model visionary, bridging concepts and services behind cloud computing to the IT Service channel. In 2008, he along with his 6fusion collaborators successfully launched the industry's first single unit of meausurement for x86 computing, known as the Workload Allocation Cube (WAC). John is a 12 year veteran of business and product development within the IT and Telecommunications sectors and a graduate of Queen's University at Kingston.