Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff, Kevin Benedict, Sebastian Kruk

Blog Feed Post

Cloud Brokerage and the Future of the IT Utility

Abstract:  Cloud Brokerage is an emerging trend in the broader cloud computing industry.  Opinions differ widely about what it means to be a broker and the significance brokers will have on the future of the industry as a whole.    The reality is that the brokerage model signals the real potential to commoditize the compute utility, which will climax with the genesis of compute as a tradable commodity like soybeans, oil or minerals.  In this four part series we will take a deep dive into the concept of cloud brokerage and connect the dots between the key trends and market demands that will shape a force few in the industry see coming and fewer still are prepared to accept.

Part I:  The Analysts Weigh In

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has established a working paper on the subject of cloud brokerage, signaling the importance of a movement that is taking shape inside the cloud computing industry as a whole.

The NIST working document describes the Cloud Brokerage success criteria as follows:

cloud-user wishes to carry out an action on cloud-provider-1 using a federated interface, with no direct knowledge of cloud-provider-1 commands or interfaces. A cloud-management-broker offers the cloud-user a federated interface to multiple cloud-providers through a human user interface, an application programming interface or both.  The cloud-user selects desired cloud-provider-1 resources, action and action parameters using the cloud-management-broker interface.  The cloud-management-broker collects and marshals the selected action and parameters from the cloud-user‘s selection and issues the desired command to cloud-provider-1 using cloud-provider-1 native interface.

The idea of cloud brokerage warranted enough noise to be covered in detail within the analyst community in 2011.   However, depending with whom you subscribe, cloud brokerage has very different meanings.  While there has been definite progress on the behalf of the analyst community, I think the potential for what this model could mean for the cloud computing market goes much deeper.

To be clear, I believe the role of what I am calling the “infrastructure broker” will be the most significant movement in the computing industry since the advent of virtualization and cloud.

Before I get into the immense complexities of that statement, let’s take a look a few perspectives from key industry analysts:

Gartner:

According to Gartner research expert Benoit Lheureux, the role of the Cloud Service Broker (CSB) is to “aggregate and add value to cloud services by providing a single point of entry to different types of cloud services.”   Gartner goes on to illustrate some key defining characteristics of a cloud broker.  According to Gartner, a CSB is a CSB if they genuinely perform:

  • Aggregation across VARS and IT Distributors
  • Integration with Systems Integrators
  • Customization for SI’s and Professional Services organizations

Gartner’s definition of Cloud Brokerage is by far the lightest among the analysts.  If you believe Lheureux, Cloud Brokerage is really just the modernization of the IT channel.

451 Group:

451 generally consider the category of CSB a part of broader market called cloud on-ramps.   In addition to providing some sort of provisioning technology, CSBs differ “in that they provide a value-added economic function, which matches workloads to the best execution venues.”

While I think 451 only provides cursory attention to cloud brokerage as a concept, the are at least more directionally correct in the sense that they see Brokerage providing a level of sophistication that is unique in the delivery of cloud services – namely the concept of ‘workload matching’.

Forrester:

I think Forrester has done the best job among the research outfits when it comes to taking a seriously deep look at the CSB market definition.   Forrester sees the CSBCloud Value Propositionsplaying a pivotal role in the future of the entire industry.   Analyst Stefan Reid’s taxonomy picture does a fantastic job of identifying the interaction of different players.

According to Forrester, “the simple broker model gains value only by comparing similar cloud provider options and using dynamic provisioning based on the actual spot prices of these resources.”  This sounds similar to 451 and Gartner in direction and tone.

But Forrester goes on to elaborate on what they see the as the evolution of the brokerage model.  “The full broker [model] goes far beyond [the simple broker].  It uses “cloud bursting” to provide IT users with higher value for a lower price.”  Cloud Bursting, Forrester explains, “is the dynamic relocation of workloads from private environments to cloud providers and vice versa.”   I’ll admit a slight sigh when I hear the cloud ‘bursting’ term (again), but I think Forrester has a great grasp on the technical role of the broker.

Gartner sees brokering as little more than modern distribution.   451 sees the concept as something they instinctually must cover but the details are hazy.   Forrester has obviously put the most thought into their analysis.  But the consistent underlying theme within these analysts is that brokerage insinuates a model whereby vendors inserting themselves and their technology between supplier and consumer to provide a layer of transactional value.

The debate and discussion goes much deeper than this and the potential for the cloud broker is much more profound.

In Part II of this post we will take a closer look at the role of the intermediary and who is likely to take up this position in the market.

 

 


Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By John Cowan

John Cowan is co-founder and CEO of 6fusion. John is credited as 6fusion's business model visionary, bridging concepts and services behind cloud computing to the IT Service channel. In 2008, he along with his 6fusion collaborators successfully launched the industry's first single unit of meausurement for x86 computing, known as the Workload Allocation Cube (WAC). John is a 12 year veteran of business and product development within the IT and Telecommunications sectors and a graduate of Queen's University at Kingston.

Cloud Expo Latest Stories
14th International Cloud Expo, held on June 10–12, 2014 at the Javits Center in New York City, featured three content-packed days with a rich array of sessions about the business and technical value of cloud computing, Internet of Things, Big Data, and DevOps led by exceptional speakers from every sector of the IT ecosystem. The Cloud Expo series is the fastest-growing Enterprise IT event in the past 10 years, devoted to every aspect of delivering massively scalable enterprise IT as a service.
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore’s Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, to discuss how infrastructure teams should be aware of the capitalization and depreciation model of these expenses to fully understand when and where automation is critical.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Hinkle, Senior Director, Open Source Solutions at Citrix Systems Inc., will provide overview of the open source software that can be used to deploy and manage a cloud computing environment. He will include information on storage, networking(e.g., OpenDaylight) and compute virtualization (Xen, KVM, LXC) and the orchestration(Apache CloudStack, OpenStack) of the three to build their own cloud services. Speaker Bio: Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Source Solutions, at Citrix Systems Inc. He joined Citrix as a result of their July 2011 acquisition of Cloud.com where he was their Vice President of Community. He is currently responsible for Citrix open source efforts around the open source cloud computing platform, Apache CloudStack and the Xen Hypervisor. Previously he was the VP of Community at Zenoss Inc., a producer of the open source application, server, and network management software, where he grew the Zenoss Core project to over 10...
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful device is smaller than a one dollar coin, and frees up otherwise dead space on your motherboard. To meet the requirements of tomorrow’s cloud hardware, Innodisk invested internal R&D resources to develop our SATA III series of products. The SATA III SATADOM boasts 500/180MBs R/W Speeds respectively, or double R/W Speed of SATA II products.
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. NuoDB is involved in both building enterprise software and using enterprise cloud capabilities. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO at NuoDB, Inc., will discuss the experiences from building, deploying and using enterprise services and suggest some ways to approach moving enterprise applications into a cloud model.
Until recently, many organizations required specialized departments to perform mapping and geospatial analysis, and they used Esri on-premise solutions for that work. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dave Peters, author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, will discuss how Esri has successfully included the cloud as a fully integrated SaaS expansion of the ArcGIS mapping platform. Organizations that have incorporated Esri cloud-based applications and content within their business models are reaping huge benefits by directly leveraging cloud-based mapping and analysis capabilities within their existing enterprise investments. The ArcGIS mapping platform includes cloud-based content management and information resources to more widely, efficiently, and affordably deliver real-time actionable information and analysis capabilities to your organization.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
The cloud is everywhere and growing, and with it SaaS has become an accepted means for software delivery. SaaS is more than just a technology, it is a thriving business model estimated to be worth around $53 billion dollars by 2015, according to IDC. The question is – how do you build and scale a profitable SaaS business model? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jason Cumberland, Vice President, SaaS Solutions at Dimension Data, will give the audience an understanding of common mistakes businesses make when transitioning to SaaS; how to avoid them; and how to build a profitable and scalable SaaS business.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia, the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between personal and professional social, mobile and cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing collaboration and infrastructure solutions to the cloud.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Enterprises require the performance, agility and on-demand access of the public cloud, and the management, security and compatibility of the private cloud. The solution? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Simone Brunozzi, VP and Chief Technologist(global role) for VMware, will explore how to unlock the power of the hybrid cloud and the steps to get there. He'll discuss the challenges that conventional approaches to both public and private cloud computing, and outline the tough decisions that must be made to accelerate the journey to the hybrid cloud. As part of the transition, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model will enable enterprise IT to build services beyond their data center while owning what gets moved, when to move it, and for how long. IT can then move forward on what matters most to the organization that it supports – availability, agility and efficiency.
Every healthy ecosystem is diverse. This is especially true in cloud ecosystems, where portability and interoperability are more important than old enterprise models of proprietary ownership. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical/Ubuntu, will discuss how single vendors used to take the lead in creating and delivering technology, but in a cloud economy, where users want tools of their preference, when and where they need them, it makes no sense.