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Where to get started with cloud computing? Tracking down the large number of solutions available from a variety of vendors can be daunting. A cloud marketplace may be what you’re looking for. A cloud marketplace acts as a broker and offers a large number of cloud solutions from different vendors in a single one-stop location. A marketplace simplifies things for customers when locating and dealing with multiple cloud vendors and, from the vendor perspective, it provides a marketing channel, a useful channel to small and mid-sized cloud vendors.
Cloud marketplaces aren’t anything new — actually Salesforce.com’s AppExchange and the Google Apps Marketplace have been around for a while — but the latest generation of marketplaces have evolved in terms of their capabilities. Early marketplaces were directory listings of applications and existed more as a referral tool. But marketplaces have now evolved to provide more comprehensive functionality.
One example of the new generation of cloud marketplaces is the Cloud Tools Marketplace, a collaboration between AppDirect and RackSpace that launched in July. Users of Cloud Tools can subscribe to any of the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) services offered on the marketplace. Services are available from cloud management vendors like enStratus, RightScale and ScaleXtreme; monitoring and reporting tools from Cloudability and New Relic; SaaS security capability from CloudPassage, Dome9 and Still Secure; and email from SendGrid. Customers sign up once with Cloud Tools and receive a single bill that aggregates the services provided from each of the services which the customer subscribes to.
Daryl Plummer, chief analyst at Gartner, said that “Brokering a full cloud ecosystem with marketplaces and catalogs for sets of cloud services is a critical necessity for cloud growth and the generation of long-term revenue. Doing this while also enabling a platform for service enablement, integration and unification of services from enterprises, partners and cloud providers increases the value proposition.”
Other examples of cloud marketplaces include Jamcracker, Parallels, and ComputeNext. Jamcracker has had some success with sales into IT and telecommunications companies, Parallels has been working with resellers and distributors, and ComputeNext is selling into the IaaS space.