German startup introduces cloud marketplace

STOCKHOLM – Deutsche Telekom spin-off Zimory has unveiled Public Cloud, a marketplace for companies that want to buy and sell hosted server capacity online.

“We serve as broker and aggregate available resources from different providers and allow anyone to use those resources for other business purposes,” said Behrend Freese, CEO at Zimory, based in Berlin.

Public Cloud will let users choose between providers that offer different service levels and pricing. Another advantage over existing cloud providers is that customers can easily move between different providers and not become locked in to one provider, according to Freese.

Zimory has signed a deal with T-Systems, which is a division of Deutsche Telekom, to provide computing resources. Deutsche Telekom is also a Zimory backer via its T-Venture Holding subsidiary.

Any application can run Public Cloud, as long as it can be put into a virtual machine.

“We are not actually in the applications area, so we expect that a customer either brings its own or uses a third party to build a virtual machine and then deploys it on the infrastructure,” Freese said.

There are also several advantages for companies and operators that want to sell capacity and get some extra money from otherwise unused resources, including that Zimory handles contracting and accounting. Zimory will share the revenue with the seller, but Freese didn’t want to elaborate on what the split would be.

Zimory also supports a variety of virtual platforms, including VMware, Xen and KVM hypervisors. It has a partnership with Microsoft and will add support for Hyper-V within a couple of months. Support for Parallels is also on the way, according to Freese.

A small agent — measuring a few megabytes, according to Freese — has to be installed on a server for it to be able to connect to the marketplace.

Public Cloud is now available free for potential customers to test, and then it will be turned into a paid service later this quarter, Freese said. By the end of the week the company will publish more details on its three service-level agreement categories — gold, silver and bronze — and also provide more information about costs.

“We are going to start with a set price list to make it as easy as possible for both sides to calculate what they get, but we have the technology in place to make this more flexible,” Freese said.

Zimory also has a product called Enterprise Cloud for companies that want to build a private cloud. The future for cloud-based services is an adaptive cloud, which is a mixture of private and public. “Companies will want to have a very flexible technology that allows them to move back and forth between internal and external clouds,” Freese said.

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