Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Jason Bloomberg, John Wetherill, Pat Romanski, David Fletcher

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA

Cloud Expo: Article

Cloud Brokering

Building a Cloud of Clouds

The essence of Cloud Computing - what makes a Cloud, well, cloudy - is the fact it's an abstraction. The Cloud hides underlying complexity while presenting a simplified interface to the consumer. Of course, abstractions are nothing new in the world of IT: compiled languages, graphical user interfaces, and SOA-based Business Services are all examples of abstractions. After all, everything we're doing in IT boils down to zeroes and ones in the end. Layers of abstraction are how we deal with this never-ending stream of bits.

The Business Service abstraction in the SOA context provides flexible, loosely coupled access to application functionality and data. The Cloud abstraction, on the other hand, delivers a shared pool of configurable computing resources of various types (processors, storage, etc.) that can be dynamically and automatically provisioned and released. The two approaches solve different problems, but nevertheless both simplify the underlying technical complexity while providing greater agility to the consumer of the respective abstractions.

Another critical benefit of both abstractions is increased fault tolerance. If something goes wrong beneath the abstraction, then it should be possible (at least in theory) to fail over to a backup or route around the problem without adversely impacting the consumer. In the case of Business Services, the intermediary (typically an ESB or XML appliance) handles this routing, while the underlying Cloud provider infrastructure handles failover within the Cloud.

That is, unless the problem is with the Cloud provider itself. It doesn't matter how resilient your provider's infrastructure is if they go out of business, or a denial of service attack takes them off the Internet. Think of Cloud providers as baskets. Do you really want to put all of your eggs in just one?

Enter Cloud Brokering
Cloud brokering is the capability that addresses this eggs-in-one-basket problem. A Cloud broker provides Cloud service intermediation, aggregation, and arbitrage across a set of Cloud providers. The need for such Cloud brokers, of course, is not lost on the community of Cloud startups. Today, if there's even a hint of a niche you'll find several entrepreneurs jumping on it, and the nascent Cloud broker market is no different. However, there is a twist to the current state of the Cloud broker market: as far as I can tell, all the players in this space today include Cloud brokering as an extension of their existing business model, rather than a pure play model in its own right.

In fact, most of the vendors offering Cloud brokering are in the Cloud management space. RightScale and Kaavo, for example, provide template-based Cloud deployment. Build the template, and the tool will deploy your fully configured Cloud instance in any of a number of Cloud environments by following the template. CloudSwitch takes the template idea down a few notches to layer two of the OSI stack, which means your Cloud instances will be identical down to the IP addresses and even the MAC addresses, independent of the Cloud environment. A fourth player worth mentioning is enStratus, who touts Cloud independence as part of Cloud governance.

There is another angle on the Cloud brokering marketplace, however: as an extension of the Cloud storage/sync market. This niche is already quite crowded, with players like Dropbox, Jungle Disk, Box.net, Wuala, and several more. A closely related market niche is the Cloud backup market, featuring vendors like Mozy, Backblaze, Carbonite, CrashPlan, and Livedrive, to name a few. It's not clear, however, if any of these vendors support cloud brokering. Instead, they all rely upon a single underlying Cloud environment for each of their offerings. The inherent fault tolerance of each vendor's chosen Cloud infrastructure may be sufficient for many users, especially in the consumer and small business segments, but enterprises may require a higher degree of resilience.

One vendor, however, has apparently carved out a niche for themselves: Oxygen Cloud. Oxygen Cloud focuses on Cloud-based sync and shared storage, but they have also taken the extra step to build Cloud brokering into their offering. As a result, customers who want the benefits of sync and storage in the Cloud without having to rely on a particular Cloud provider have few if any options other than Oxygen Cloud.

The ZapThink Take
The ability to select among several public Clouds is only one benefit of Cloud brokering. It also supports the ability for an organization to move application instances or data between private and public Clouds. In other words, Cloud brokering is at the heart of dynamic hybrid Clouds.

When we talk about the various Cloud deployment models-public, private, community, and hybrid-it's the hybrid model that elicits the most head scratching. People wonder under what circumstances would it ever be worth the trouble to mix private and public Clouds together. And they have a point: hybrid Clouds sound like a huge hassle. Without Cloud brokering, managing a hybrid Cloud may be more trouble than it's worth.

Cloud brokering, however, abstracts out the deployment model altogether, creating what we might even call a "Cloud of Clouds." From the perspective of the consumer, all Clouds might as well be hybrid Clouds, because the decision whether to leverage on-premise or off-premise resources is simply part of the dynamic provisioning benefit of the Cloud of Clouds. The notion of a Cloud of Clouds that brokering enables, however, is a temporary phenomenon. Today we require visibility into the selection of individual Cloud providers. Tomorrow, the brokering-based Cloud of Clouds will simply be The Cloud.

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

@CloudExpo Stories
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
“DevOps is really about the business. The business is under pressure today, competitively in the marketplace to respond to the expectations of the customer. The business is driving IT and the problem is that IT isn't responding fast enough," explained Mark Levy, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Serena Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The cloud is becoming the de-facto way for enterprises to leverage common infrastructure while innovating and one of the biggest obstacles facing public cloud computing is security. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jeff Aliber, a global marketing executive at Verizon, discussed how the best place for web security is in the cloud. Benefits include: Functions as the first layer of defense Easy operation –CNAME change Implement an integrated solution Best architecture for addressing network-l...
Mobile commerce traffic is surpassing desktop, yet less than 20% of sales in the U.S. are mobile commerce sales. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dan Franklin, Segment Manager, Commerce, at Verizon Digital Media Services, defined mobile devices and discussed how next generation means simplification. It means taking your digital content and turning it into instantly gratifying experiences.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, p...
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's

SYS-CON Events announced today that AIC, a leading provider of OEM/ODM server and storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AIC is a leading provider of both standard OTS, off-the-shelf, and OEM/ODM server and storage solutions. With expert in-house design capabilities, validation, manufacturing and production, AIC's broad selection of products are highly flexible and are conf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada...
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
“We are a managed services company. We have taken the key aspects of the cloud and the purposed data center and merged the two together and launched the Purposed Cloud about 18–24 months ago," explained Chetan Patwardhan, CEO of Stratogent, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session a...