Data centers have traditionally been recurring billers that required their customers to select from a menu of tiered services that required upfront subscription commitments. Virtualization, software-defined-networking, and related cloud computing technologies have increasingly tilted the balance towards dynamic providers offering platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). These services could scale on demand and charge accordingly the utility model with usage-based, metered billing. However, unlike a traditional utility that offered a single product, data centers have a large number of services and need a complex product pricing catalog for merchandising.
Capabilities of interest for data center providers include: