I have found myself using this analogy quite a lot when explaining Cloud and discussing messaging around how to position and sell cloud services.

Cloudcar“Selling the cloud, is like selling a car, you start with a base and add options”

Cloud services should provide the customer two things, value and options/addons. Consumers are able to get better value from Cloud Services due to the underlying infrastructure that is being provided (scale and automation are factors here). Options/addons come in the form of additional service offerings (Firewall, Antivirus, Networks).

Now let’s translate that back to the car analogy. Car manufacturer’s are able to provide value by means of mass production. Mass production allows the manufacturer to build multiple things in a short amount of time (scale and automation). The options/addons are the additional things that manufacturer’s may not provide on all car’s, e.g Window Tint, Sunroof, Navigation systems.

Let’s start with the basics, if you consider “Infrastructure as a Service” as your base model car, what would this provide you?

  • Compute – CPU and RAM resources to run your infrastructure
  • Storage – Storage for the Operating System and your data in the cloud
  • Network – Transit IN and OUT of the infrastructure platform, typically over the internet.

These are the variables in the equation, if you went shopping for a car, it becomes a question of how big and powerful do you want the car? Your options may be around performance, would you buy a car with a turbo? (High Performance disk) or a car without a turbo (Standard disk).


Once you have decided on what sort of car you want, the next question is what else would you like with it? This is where the options/addons come in;

  • ¬†Firewall (Navigation System) – I want an additional firewall for my environment.
  • Antivirus (Paint Protection) – I want to protect my environment from malware, most cloud platforms may overlook this today or it is the customers responsibility to provide this software
  • Backup (Extended Warranty) – I want to backup my data in the cloud. Not all providers offer a backup/restore offering. It is typically the customers responsibility to backup their data.

Infrastructure as a Service is a very standard offering. Options/Addons are where cloud providers can differentiate their services. If you are able to provide these options/addons in a self service, automated fashion you will attract consumers to your offering.

Imagine going to a car dealer, buying a car, and in the time it takes you to choose your options/addons they have been applied to your car and you can drive it away that day. Wouldn’t that be the type of service you would like? An instant upgrade of your car stereo system, window tint applied instantly & lastly bigger rims for the nice new ride.

Who can provide the best offering at the lowest cost?

Being able to offer low cost IaaS (in a competitive market) and options/addons on top of your base offering will allow you to compete in the market.

Not all consumers will want to have workloads that they are moving to the cloud protected by antivirus, or have additional firewall protection. Test and development workloads may not need to be on the same disk as production workloads.

Think about what your company currently offers that differentiates themselves from competitors. Your company might be able to package this up and offer it as apart of the Cloud Service.

Cloud Services Providers are popping up all over the place, you need to be agile and innovative to tackle this market and stay ahead of the game.

Don’t think too far out of the box, some times the most basic things can be monetized !



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