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Deutsche Boerse trading outlook: Cloudy, with outbreaks of standardisation, transparency and the possibility of profit

There has been an awful lot of hype about the cloud computing in recent years but the new initiative from financial giant, Deutsche Boerse, which will use Zimory's Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud management software to connect buyers and sellers via open APIs, shows that the technology has matured sufficiently to be used in some seriously mission-critical environments.

The notion of forming of a commoditised cloud marketplace has been around for a while but few would-be players have had the nerve to grasp the nettle and then hang on to it. Now though, independent pioneers Deutsche Boerse and Zimory are aiming fairly and squarely at the corporate, major enterprise and public sectors with a system that will permit cloud computing and storage capacity to be traded, securely and almost instantly, just like other commodities such as securities, oil and electricity.

Trading of cloud storage capacity will begin in the first quarter of 2014 in Frankfurt and New York and will start in Singapore in Q3 next year. It is expected that the operation will be global within 18 months.

Initially the trading of computing and storage capacity will consist of data units of a minimum of a terabyte (TB). The processing capacity comes in a minimum of 10 so-called Performance Units (PU) where a PU equals eight gigabytes.

Deutsche Boerse officials say that contract periods will be for a day, a week, a month or a year while, for the particularly adventurous, contracts can be open-ended and unlimited. To cancel a deal the buyer must give a notice period of one full day whilst the seller must give one month's notice.

What makes cloud computing so attractive to potential users is that by keeping corporate data out there in cyberspace and accessing it securely online, big capex and opex savings can be achieved and organisations can get rid of their own expensive hardware whilst having the ability to switch between third-party servers and systems to take advantage of the cheapest processing power.

Deutsche Boerse stresses that buyers will themselves be able to choose their own providers and also the jurisdiction wherein their outsourced data will actually reside; so this is not a case of 'It's my way or the highway - so take it or leave it'.

Commenting on the establishment of the new system and services, Ruediger Baumann, CEO of Zimory, said, "The Deutsche Boerse Cloud Exchange will fundamentally change how cloud computing resources are bought and sold. The time when contract negotiations took months will be over for most businesses. Standardising IaaS offerings will revolutionise the cloud computing market in a similar way to how the GSM standard changed cellular telephony. Cloud services will be provided faster and in more varied ways. New cloud computing industries, application areas and brokerage services will develop. The necessary prerequisites for this new age of cloud computing are industry standards for IaaS and a neutral, secure marketplace, which we are creating together with Deutsche Boerse group."

Standards and standardisation will indeed be key to the success of the Cloud Exchange and Ruediger Baumann stresses that Zimory’s implementation for Deutsche Boerse "will be characterised by it openness to integrate other cloud management stacks and standards".

He adds, "Furthermore, standards will be applied to cloud computing infrastructure, making services easy to compare and enabling users to distribute their applications between multiple providers. It is a marketplace where all providers of compute and storage capacity could show their available services and capacities in product groups, in a standardised way".

Naturally enough there will be a charge for use of the exchange and fees will be levied on both buyers and sellers. Even so, Ruediger Baumann insists that, despite the charges, the exchange will prove to be highly cost efficient and effective for large buyers. He says, “It is true that a certain percentage goes to trade, but this is 10 times better than current procurement processes in cloud computing, which take one to one-and-a-half years and where procurement costs are enormous and time-to-market is far too long.”

According to research house Gartner, the global cloud computing services market will grow 18.5 per cent this year to US$131 billion. Meanwhile, the IaaS sector is forecast to increase by 47.3 percent this year alone to $9 billion.

Deutsche Boerse says that it expects the Cloud Exchange to be profitable "within three years" and if the spot market does take off the Boerse will introduce a fully-regulated Cloud derivatives market offering options and futures contracts as early as 2015.

Certainly the strategic partnership with with an organisation of the size and importance of Deutsche Boerse has done Zimory no harm. This morning the company announced that it has secured a fresh round of funding valued at $20 million. The newest investor, unsurprisingly, is Deutsche Boerse itself - together long-standing investors Creathor Venture, High-Tech Gruenderfonds, IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft, KFW, and T-Venture.

See our video interviews on the establishment of Cloud Exchange with Maximilian Ahrens, CTO of Deutsche Borse Cloud Exchange and Ruediger Baumann CEO of Zimory (also below).

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