Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Shelly Palmer, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Cloud Brokers Make the Cloud Fit for Enterprise Requirements

Sometimes it’s fun to look back at your predictions to remember what you were thinking at the time

Sometimes it’s fun to look back at your predictions to remember what you were thinking at the time and see how accurate you turned out to be. Based on some recent conversations, I decided to revisit one of our early blog posts from 2009, where we were envisioning the direction this industry would take and the role our technology would play in it.

That post, Dynamic Cloud Fitting — the Future in Automated Cloud Management, described a world where workloads would move automatically to the right environment to meet a customer’s business and technical requirements. It also explored how an entity called a “cloud broker” (initially defined by Gartner in 2009) would provide the technology and expertise to achieve that goal.

Fast forward to 2011. The idea of workloads being redirecting on the fly across different clouds for real-time optimized cost/performance is still a vision for the distant future – both because the technology is not yet available and also because customers have shown little interest to date. However the main concept of a cloud broker “fitting” a workload to a cloud environment based on technical and business requirements turns out to be very important to customers, and is already possible today. By providing an intermediation layer spanning multiple clouds, cloud broker software from companies like CloudSwitch can provide a range of capabilities beyond the scope of an individual cloud provider or service.

In terms of cloud “fitting,” what customers want is the ability to set parameters on a number of dimensions in order to control usage and optimize workload performance. These parameters include (but are certainly not limited to):

  • Which cloud services they want to make available (and for which users)
  • Which geographic locations (regions, zones, data centers)
  • Cost limitations – per hour, based on quotas, etc.
  • Maximum latency that can be tolerated
  • Virtual machine requirements for CPU, memory, etc.
  • Maximum provisioning time that is acceptable
  • Minimum SLA required for reasonable availability

What’s clear is that cloud broker software must incorporate an algorithmic approach to mapping the requirements of the enterprise, user groups, individual users, and specific workloads against the possible cloud services that have been enabled. This is a non-trivial process and is based on capturing and tracking a mix of inputs from administrators and users, as well as real-time data from the virtual machines, networks, and cloud providers. Think of this as being somewhat similar to recommendation engines on websites like kayak.com that help “fit” travelers’ requirements and preferences against available flights. Only in this case, the “flights” are instances that can be provided by one or more cloud provider or by internal virtualized resources.

Another important aspect for the cloud broker software is to implement the “fitting” algorithm in the context of a role-based access control (RBAC) system. Think of this in terms of layers of enterprise controls and permissions that guide users’ options for self-service access to cloud resources. For example, a global administrator may set up the initial constraints based on which cloud services are available for the entire enterprise, while a business unit administrator may have more narrow limits for her users based on quotas, geographic constraints for certain teams, etc. – and the final end-user just wants to get his work done quickly and cost-effectively without worrying about any of this.

One point we didn’t foresee in our original blog post on cloud fitting was how the cloud broker’s role would expand. In addition to on-boarding applications into the cloud, customers now look to cloud brokers to fill important gaps in areas that cloud providers either don’t want to deliver (such as multi-cloud capability) or that are hard to deliver because of architectural limitations.

Security is a good example of the latter, where the shared environment of the cloud makes it hard to give individual customers control over encryption and key management, something that enterprises frequently require to get CSO sign-off. Extension of network configurations into the cloud with full configurability is also challenging for most cloud providers, since their network architectures are by definition fairly “flattened” and limited in options like multiple sub-nets (unless the customer is willing to pay for a dedicated network setup). This is another area where cloud brokers can help bridge the gap between what enterprise users need and what multiple cloud providers can deliver.

So the role of a cloud broker turns out to be evolving and growing broader over time, and no doubt will continue to do so. There’s a broad consensus that the broker’s role is important — not just here at CloudSwitch, but also among industry analysts like Gartner, other technology vendors, and our enterprise customers. The key insight is that cloud brokers allow enterprises to extend their control over their applications and data into the cloud. This ability to put control in the hands of the customer is what matters the most.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ellen Rubin

Ellen Rubin is the CEO and co-founder of ClearSky Data, an enterprise storage company that recently raised $27 million in a Series B investment round. She is an experienced entrepreneur with a record in leading strategy, market positioning and go-to- market efforts for fast-growing companies. Most recently, she was co-founder of CloudSwitch, a cloud enablement software company, acquired by Verizon in 2011. Prior to founding CloudSwitch, Ellen was the vice president of marketing at Netezza, where as a member of the early management team, she helped grow the company to more than $130 million in revenues and a successful IPO in 2007. Ellen holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Harvard University.

@CloudExpo Stories
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing bes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DivvyCloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DivvyCloud software enables organizations to achieve their cloud computing goals by simplifying and automating security, compliance and cost optimization of public and private cloud infrastructure. Using DivvyCloud, customers can leverage programmatic Bots to identify and remediate common cloud problems in rea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri, Inc, a leading provider of enterprise cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Tintri offers an enterprise cloud platform built with public cloud-like web services and RESTful APIs. Organizations use Tintri all-flash storage with scale-out and automation as a foundation for their own clouds – to build agile development environments...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tappest will exhibit MooseFS at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MooseFS is a breakthrough concept in the storage industry. It allows you to secure stored data with either duplication or erasure coding using any server. The newest – 4.0 version of the software enables users to maintain the redundancy level with even 50% less hard drive space required. The software func...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EARP will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "We are a software house, so we perfectly understand challenges that other software houses face in their projects. We can augment a team, that will work with the same standards and processes as our partners' internal teams. Our teams will deliver the same quality within the required time and budget just as our partn...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Interoute is the owner operator of Europe's largest network and a global cloud services platform, which encompasses over 70,000 km of lit fiber, 15 data centers, 17 virtual data centers and 33 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional partner data centers. Our full-service Unifie...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Carbonite will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Carbonite protects your entire IT footprint with the right level of protection for each workload, ensuring lower costs and dependable solutions with DoubleTake and Evault.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outscale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outscale's technology makes an automated and adaptable Cloud available to businesses, supporting them in the most complex IT projects while controlling their operational aspects. You boost your IT infrastructure's reactivity, with request responses that only take a few seconds.
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, David Martin, Principal Product Owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how to ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
As cloud adoption continues to transform business, today's global enterprises are challenged with managing a growing amount of information living outside of the data center. The rapid adoption of IoT and increasingly mobile workforce are exacerbating the problem. Ensuring secure data sharing and efficient backup poses capacity and bandwidth considerations as well as policy and regulatory compliance issues.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that A&I Solutions has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 1999, A&I Solutions is a leading information technology (IT) software and services provider focusing on best-in-class enterprise solutions. By partnering with industry leaders in technology, A&I assures customers high performance levels across all IT environments including: mai...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus intern...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...