Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Cloud Ventures, Pat Romanski, Michelle Drolet, Liz McMillan

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 Chief Evangelist at EnterpriseWeb, where he drives the message and the community for EnterpriseWeb’s next generation enterprise platform. He is a global thought leader in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture. He is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer, and he also serves as blogger for DevX. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution: How Cloud Computing, REST-based SOA, and Mobile Computing are Changing Enterprise IT (John Wiley & Sons), was published in March 2013. Prior to EnterpriseWeb he was President of ZapThink, where he created the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, and ran the LZA course as well as his Enterprise Cloud Computing course around the world. He was also the primary contributor to the ZapFlash newsletter and blog for twelve years. Mr. Bloomberg is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in August 2011. Mr. Bloomberg’s 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). He has 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).

Cloud Expo Breaking News
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Are you interested in accelerating innovation, simplifying deployments, reducing complexity, and lowering development costs? The cloud is changing the face of application development and deployment, with enterprise-grade infrastructure and platform services making it possible for you to build and rapidly scale enterprise applications. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Gene Eun, Sr. Director, Oracle Cloud at Oracle, will discuss the latest solutions and strategies for application developers and enterprise IT organizations to leverage Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) to build and deploy modern business applications in the cloud.
Hybrid cloud refers to the federation of a public and private cloud environment for the purpose of extending the elastic and flexibility of compute, storage and network capabilities, in an on-demand, pay-as-you go basis. The hybrid approach allows a business to take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness that a public cloud computing environment offers without exposing mission-critical applications and data to third-party vulnerabilities. Hybrid cloud environments involve complex management challenges. First, organizations struggle to maintain control over the resources that lie outside of their managed IT scope. They also need greater infrastructure visibility to help reduce maintenance costs and ensure that their company data and resources are properly handled and secured.
As more applications and services move "to the cloud" (public or on-premise), cloud environments are increasingly adopting and building out traditional enterprise features. This in turn is enabling and encouraging cloud adoption from enterprise users. In many ways the definition is blurring as features like continuous operation, geo-distribution or on-demand capacity become the norm. At NuoDB we're involved in both building enterprise software and using enterprise cloud capabilities. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc., will cover experiences from building, deploying and using enterprise services and suggest some ways to approach moving enterprise applications into a cloud model.
Understanding the future of Big Data is crucial in the early stages of decision making around Big Data architectures. In the enterprise, what stands out is the need to integrate Hadoop smoothly into your existing data warehouse architecture, while taking advantage of existing skills and investments. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marty Gubar, Director of Product Management at Oracle, will present a strategy for enabling integrated data management using both Hadoop and relational technologies. In particular, he'll look at how SQL, long the standard for the data warehouse, is increasingly being used on Hadoop. The real prize, though, is Smart SQL processing, seamlessly integrating the data warehouse and Hadoop into a single, Big Data Management System.