Business Models and Billing Challenges

Business Models and Billing Challenges

Javier Martínez Elicegui (Telefónica I+D, Spain), Lei Xu (Umeå University, Sweden) and Emilio García Escobar (Telefónica I+D, Spain)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3934-8.ch004
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The advent of the Cloud has leveraged a number of challenges, both for customers and service providers. Companies willing to embrace the new paradigm must face some entrance barriers, such as security, privacy and trust concerns, vendor locking risk, legal issues, etc. While service providers may work to minimize these barriers, they must be especially careful when defining what may constitute the most crucial aspect for the success of their offerings: the business model. Different incarnations of the cloud (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS) add to the possibility of offering public or private solutions, or even federated models. On top of this is the billing strategy: the ubiquitous pay-per-use approach (either in its most common post-paid incarnation, or in a novel pre-paid version) is only the starting point for a wide range of innovative solutions, including bundling or QoS considerations, which European project VISION Cloud is tackling as part of its research efforts. This chapter aims to provide a comprehensive discussion on the most relevant business factors that the Cloud confronts.
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The Use Cases developed inside VISION Cloud (Enterprise, Telco, Media and Healthcare) have leveraged a number of requirements for the billing (and accounting) mechanisms to be deployed there. The general requirement is, of course, to have a distributed billing mechanism in place that is able to charge all tenants for their actual consumption, in a pay-per-use basis (ENRQ15: Automatic billing mechanisms). To this extent, it is required that comprehensive list of metrics is identified, so that it covers the most common concepts related to the usage of a storage cloud (TCRQ45: Billing concepts): storage used, inbound/outbound traffic… considering also the particularities of VISION Cloud, such as Storlets. Accounting and billing mechanisms have to be agile enough to enable mechanisms for the tenants to control consumption prior to the generation of the bill (TCRQ44: Balance Query, TCRQ46: Billing alerts)

It is assumed that there are SLA agreements between VISION Cloud and its tenants, to control the quality of the service offered. In case of infringement of the SLA terms, the billing subsystem must keep track of this fact, and compensate the user for it (TCRQ36: User storage space SLA enforcement, ENRQ02, TCRQ58: SLA durability, TCRQ61: SLA latency, ENRQ46, TCRQ62, MDRQ40, HCRQ0408: Bandwidth requirements).

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