February 17, 2011, 5:19 PM — Cloud computing is such a pain.
You have to identify a service company, sign up, decide how much capacity you want to use, and then just keep using it.
Sure, you can go up or down when you need more or less capacity or want to save money.
But where can you go if you suddenly want 10,000 virtual servers all running Call of Duty: Black Ops, but only for one day?
SpotCloud. It's a service launched last month by regular old infrastructure as a service provider Enomaly primarily to give other cloud providers a place to sell of excess compute capacity, in the same way electric utilities pool and resell their extra capacity.
For buyers it's designed to supply "Transient Compute Capacity" (a transparent effort to introduce another TLA that, as a bonus, makes the more commonly used phrase "temporary capacity longer and more technical-sounding). TCC covers spiky demand for load balancing, content delivery, performance optimization and such, according to SpotCloud.
The temporary cloud power isn't designed to house your SAP apps. It's an edge thing – appropriate for smaller, locked-down virtual servers running as appliances – a set of which are available for download and imprinting with your own server images.
If you just need a bunch of Exchange servers or raw HPC or two month's worth of time on a bunch of servers that can be a DMZ to integrate your company and a recent acquisition, or just to rent some short-term project or dev space, SpotCloud isn't a bad idea.
It also includes internal code and APIs that distribute specific loads across the number of VMs and compute cycles it has available at any time. On any given day that can range between 10,000 and 25,000 virtual servers, according to analysts at GigaOm.
In this way SpotCloud actually functions more like a reverse cloud, allowing one company to add varying amounts of capacity to a generalized pool, depending on how much is available every day, getting paid according to how much capacity it supplies and what the demand is.
On the buy side it lets end-user customers shop among providers or add short-term capacity from a different provider at (potentially) a better price than the primary vendor.