Tag Archives: cloud metering

PR: New Kids on Campus – 6fusion Partners with NC State University

Raleigh, NC – November 11, 2010 – 6fusion, a company that has developed a system to take control of third party computing resources and create a single utility to meet the needs of the IT Service channel, is the latest company to become a partner on NC State University’s Centennial Campus.

The company is occupying space in the Venture IV building on the research park and technology campus.

“We are delighted to have 6fusion on campus,” said Dennis Kekas, associate vice chancellor of the Centennial Partnership office. “With its background in cloud computing and our research in that area, we think they are an ideal partner going forward.”

6fusion has developed an algorithm that radically simplifies the metering, consumption and billing of compute resources, called the Workload Allocation Cube (WAC). The company also has developed a platform called UC6, which provides a single pane-of-glass user interface for customers to dynamically provision cloud workloads internal or external to their organization.

“We spent a considerable amount of time with the team at Centennial Campus after we completed our relocation to the Research Triangle,” said John Cowan, CEO of 6fusion. “Centennial Campus is not only an exciting, intellectually stimulating place to locate an entrepreneurial venture – it’s also a unique venue that allows us to partner on research and development facilities in a campus atmosphere that is more than just office space.”

6fusion makes iNode computing power available exclusively through IT service providers, independent software vendors and managed service providers. The company uses iNodes to build and launch ‘cloud’ based services to its user communities and customers worldwide. The company bridges the gap between supply and demand of utility computing resources with the company’s software technology called UC6. UC6 is a single console that handles all of the metering and billing of the “infrastructure” and deployment and control of customer “applications.”

In addition to the corporate relocation, 6fusion has also partnered with NC State’s Institute for Next Generation IT Systems (ITng) to develop collaborative research initiatives. ITng is also located on Centennial Campus.

“ITng is a perfect fit for 6fusion’s long term R&D program,” said 6fusion co-founder and CTO Delano Seymour.

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So What Does It Cost?

It sounds like the simplest of questions:  So, what does it cost?  Yet, for an immature industry like cloud computing, it’s a doozy.  

For 5 years my cohorts and I poured our energy into the singular quest of trying to make complex computing available and affordable to the SMB and mid market customer.  Unlike a lot of purveyors of the cloud, we got our start as a blood sweat and tears IT service shop, which means we only have time for stuff customers are willing and able to buy!   (Incidentally, I truly believe there is a huge source of untapped innovation sitting idle in what the IT Service market calls “The Channel”, but I’ll save that for another day).  

Like most innovators our early inventiveness was driven by a lot of trial and error exercises.  We found no shortage of willing lab rats within our base of existing customers, but each time we thought we cracked the code we came back to the drawing board with something inevitably missing from the puzzle.   Being very, very early adopters of virtualization technologies, it was easy for us to grasp and produce cloud computing deployment.   From the get go we succeeded in putting customer applications into our cloud.  That part was easy.  What was not so easy was what invariable came next in the selling process:  Pricing.

On the surface, it sounds like a simple problem.  Heck, if you already have customers wanting your solution, just ‘givem’ a price’ already!  Right? 

Wrong. 

Herein lies the difference between a company that has build a cloud computing platform and a company that has actually tried to get a customer (and I real, tried and true SMB) to pay for it.  There is a big difference.  Cloud computing is something of a Pandora’s Box, you see.  By unleashing elastic computing with the promise (at least in our case) to a customer that they could run WHATEVER they wanted, you effectively let the lightning out of the bottle.  It is uncontrollable, yet the possibilities are fascinatingly endless.

We quickly (well, 2 years of trial and error quick) realized that what this pony needed was a saddle. 

The power of cloud computing is the stuff of techno-economic paradigms, for sure.  But it needs an effective pricing model and here’s the kicker: It has to be simple.  I mean no offence here to our counterparts that operate public clouds, but pricing is WAY too complex. I know I’m not the smartest guy on the planet, but here is what I also know:  The buying public is not made up of MIT laureates, nor do they really care how many all-nighters you pulled to develop your system.

Let me give you some insight into 6fusion R&D culture and mentality when it comes to pricing, which I think a lot of other companies that take themselves and their technology way too serious should consider: 

1) If you need a whiteboard to explain pricing, you will only sell cloud computing to yourself. 

2) If the customer doesn’t know the cost of cloud computing before giving the P.O, chances are they won’t.  

3) If, when you talk about your pricing model, you ever say “that depends…”, don’t call the Marketing Dept just yet.

I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but we believe the pace at which cloud computing moves from ‘technological revolution’ to ‘technology paradigm’ hinges on the subject of universal costing.  Put another way, the point at which cloud computing is truly ready for mainstream business is the point at which the customer says “So, what does it cost?” and the cloud computing purveyor says, “I’m so glad you asked!”