Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Lori MacVittie, Pat Romanski, Victoria Livschitz, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Cloud Expo

Cloud Expo: Blog Feed Post

The Cloud Vendor and the Agnostic Intermediary

Part II in a series by 6fusion's Co-founder and CEO John Cowan

Abstract: This is Part II in a blog series by 6fusion Co-founder and CEO John Cowan on the emerging trend of Cloud Brokerage and the impact it will have on the technology industry and markets. Be sure to check out Part I of the series here.

Part II – The Cloud Vendor and the Agnostic Intermediary

I gave a presentation a few months back in which I opened with the following statement:  The future of cloud computing has little to do with technology. Sounds crazy, right?  But before you send me to the virtual nuthouse, let me explain.

What I think is unclear in the emerging Cloud Broker business model is the demarcation point between the business of compute and the technical organization of compute.  The era of Cloud Brokerage will see these two concepts treated and considered as two distinct threads.   The technical organization of compute is what the myriad of cloud software vendors does today.   They are the companies that pitch “hey, buy my software and you too can have a cloud” or “hey, run your apps on our infrastructure and you too can pay for IT like a utility.” The role of this vertical in the industry is about the orchestration and management of the compute resources sitting in customer cabinets and cages across the global data center landscape.  It is about, as some of the more vocal pundits and talking heads espouse, a complete paradigm shift in the way IT is delivered.

But cloud vendors, despite their impressive efforts to convince us otherwise, are, and never will be, Cloud Brokers.

Cloud Brokers will focus on the business of compute rather than the technical organization of compute.    And the business of compute has nothing to do with cloud computing or the technology driving this revolution. The business of compute is about the commoditization of compute, network and storage infrastructure.

There is a big difference.

Analysts and experts measure the market by examining the adoption rates of cloud technologies private and public.  Projections vary widely but I think we can all agree we are already in a Total Addressable Market (TAM) in the billions and on a fast track much higher.

That’s a lot of dough.  But the real TAM for Cloud Brokerage is much, much bigger.

Cloud Brokers will play a catalyzing role in the establishment of a commodities market for computing, just like soybeans, metals or corn.  One of the principal advantages of any commodity market is for businesses to hedge their risk.  It is difficult to argue that such practices could not or should not extend to information technology needs (specifically computing).

In order to truly see this market one must look beyond the resources that are “in the cloud” today.   Businesses in the future will hedge their total risk – the needs of the organization both internally and externally.  That is – the sum total demand for compute resources.  To this end, existing market sizing reports dealing with cloud are inadequate to represent the total opportunity.   Based on publically available data on server and storage shipment tracking I believe the TAM for Cloud Brokerage to be north of $1 Trillion.

As a central figure to the emergence of a commodity market for compute infrastructure, the Cloud Broker must be an entirely agnostic intermediary.  The job of the agnostic intermediary will be to connect those that consume infrastructure and those that produce infrastructure.  It will not be their job to influence, direct, sell or support what the infrastructure is ultimately used for.  Nor will it be their job to influence what infrastructure supplier is used.

Herein lies the demarcation point between those facilitating the future business of compute and those enabling the technological organization of compute.

This may come as a revelation to some, but it won’t be players like Amazon, Rackspace and the ‘Magic Quadrant’ of telcos and co-lo providers that form the commodity market for compute.   Yes, they will no doubt be suppliers to the market.  But they will not be the true market makers.

Today’s leading cloud vendors will learn that you can’t be a retail cloud and an intermediary for a cloud market.  The very concept would be like being an arms dealer for the war in which you take up arms.   It will not work.  While important actors in the emerging story, today’s cloud vendors are merely proving out that there is room for many suppliers in the market.

In Part III of this post I will take a look at the some of the important technologies that will emerge to create what I call “The Market Unified.”

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.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, 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 its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionalit...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
Some developers believe that monitoring is a function of the operations team. Some operations teams firmly believe that monitoring the systems they maintain is sufficient to run the business successfully. Most of them are wrong. The complexity of today's applications have gone far and beyond the capabilities of "traditional" system-level monitoring tools and approaches and requires much broader knowledge of business and applications as a whole. The goal of DevOps is to connect all aspects of app...
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
SYS-CON Media announced that Centrify, a provider of unified identity management across cloud, mobile and data center environments that delivers single sign-on (SSO) for users and a simplified identity infrastructure for IT, has launched an ad campaign on Cloud Computing Journal. The ads focus on security: how an organization can successfully control privilege for all of the organization’s identities to mitigate identity-related risk without slowing down the business, and how Centrify provides ...
"We help companies that are using a lot of Software as a Service. We help companies manage and gain visibility into what people are using inside the company and decide to secure them or use standards to lock down or to embrace the adoption of SaaS inside the company," explained Scott Kriz, Co-founder and CEO of Bitium, 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.
"SAP had made a big transition into the cloud as we believe it has significant value for our customers, drives innovation and is easy to consume. When you look at the SAP portfolio, SAP HANA is the underlying platform and it powers all of our platforms and all of our analytics," explained Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, 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.
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device exp...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps,...
"Cloud consumption is something we envision at Solgenia. That is trying to let the cloud spread to the user as a consumption, as utility computing. We want to allow the people to just pay for what they use, not a subscription model," explained Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. Acco...
"For the past 4 years we have been working mainly to export. For the last 3 or 4 years the main market was Russia. In the past year we have been working to expand our footprint in Europe and the United States," explained Andris Gailitis, CEO of DEAC, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective ...