The Use of Provision Point Contracts for Improving Cloud Infrastructure Utilisation
The on-demand capability of cloud computing allows consumers to purchase only the computing resources they require, as and when they need it. However, without a view of future demand, cloud providers’ faces challenges in optimising the use of their infrastructure. In this paper, we propose a pricing method for cloud computing which allows providers to schedule virtual machines more efficiently through the use of provision point contracts (PPCs), commonly used for deal-of-the day websites such as Groupon. We show that the model can achieve a reduction of around 2% on the mean number of servers utilised. This may seem a modest percentage, but it can equate to freeing up thousands of physical servers in a single industrial-scale cloud computing data-centre. Additionally, our pricing model prevents discounts being offered where no increase in server efficiency is likely to be achieved. This suggests that the model can be implemented with little risk of it negatively affecting the efficiency of server provisioning. Finally, our results indicate that the cloud-service users who engage with the PPC method can achieve savings of over 20%.
KeywordsScheduling assurance contracts provision point contracts pricing
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