Zuora launches a billing system for cloud platforms

Last week Zuora announced a version of its billing product Z-Commerce specifically tailored for cloud computing architectures.

The product is able to integrate with multiple IaaS, PaaS and SaaS cloud platforms, and meters the resource usage by multiple units of measure: terabyte stored, IP addresses, gigabyte transferred, CPU instances, application users, etc.
The metrics can be used into over 20 different pricing models, including on demand charging, reservation, location-based, off-peak pricing and more.
The engine then automatically generates and manages the invoices, including payment tracking, refunds, etc.

On top of that, Zuora can host the Z-Commerce storefront on behalf of the cloud provider, managing the users purchases and interacting with the cloud platform accordingly.

The product is available in four editions:

  • The Service Provider Edition offers service providers the fastest way to get to market, with the flexibility to implement any number of usage-based pricing models.
  • The Embedded Edition allows cloud providers to offer Zuora as an "in-a-box" service to any ISV or reseller partners who need their own cloud commerce solution.
  • The Marketplace Edition enables cloud vendors to connect buyers and sellers of cloud-based services in an “App Store”-like environment, sharing in the revenues with the app providers.
  • The Private Cloud Edition provides a solution for enterprises standing up private clouds to implement charge-backs for transparency and cost allocation.

The metering and billing component is critical in public and large private cloud infrastructures, but at this point a very limited amount of cloud platforms include this piece in their infrastructure, leaving customers with a huge challenge to solve.

The way Zuora Z-Commerce integrates with existing cloud infrastructures reduces the investment required to launch a public cloud offering and so it doesn’t surprise that many providers are evaluating it.
For example, one of the four providers that are currently offering the VMware vCloud Express platform (a IaaS solution currently in beta), BlueLock, is using Zuora behind the scene.

Considering the impressive expansion of the cloud computing market, Zuora is a high desirable acquisition target at this point.