When I was a kid growing up in England in the 1960s and 70s, we had two TV channels:  BBC and ITV.  The concept of two channels became so foundational to our telly watching habits that we called the two channels sides– as though they were two sides of a record.  When changing channels, we’d say, “What’s on the other side?” Or, “Turn the telly over.”

This limited viewing experience meant we would watch pretty much anything, and we usually all watched the same thing. Whether it was a documentary about dung beetles or the latest episode of “Upstairs Downstairs,” we were a country united by a lack of options.

For a while, cloud computing was like this.  First one vendor, then maybe two. Now it seems there is a new one (or wannabe one) every week. And, as the competition increases, the prices are going down.  This is the American way – and God bless America.

The latest offering to make my radar is from IBM, who recently bought SoftLayer, a cloud Infrastructure as a Service provider that offers real (not virtual) servers starting at about 50 cents an hour, no contract required.  Pay for it when you need it, don’t when you don’t.

Last year my team here at Sabre began working with a number of vendors on a concept we call cloud brokering. Once this is in place, we will be able to request real-time bids from multiple Infrastructure as a Service cloud providers – and, based on their responses and our past experience with their quality, we will push non-sensitive processing to the winner.  It will almost be like having a remote control, a hundred channels to choose from and no patience for bad TV.