Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff, Don MacVittie

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Brokerage: Cloud-As-We’d-Like-It-To-Be | Part 2

The cloud services broker (CSB) business model is gaining momentum as one way to turn the cloud into as-we’d-like-it-to-be

In a previous blog we introduced the topic of cloud-as-it-is versus cloud as-we'd like-it-to-be. The cloud services broker (CSB) business model is gaining momentum as one way to turn the cloud into as-we'd-like-it-to-be. CSB is a term used for the activity of brokerage and also for the software that supports that brokerage activity. What is it all about?

The Gartner guys have defined it in this way: "CSB is an IT role and business model in which a company or other entity adds value to one or more (public or private) cloud services on behalf of one or more consumers of that service via three primary roles including aggregation, integration and customization brokerage. A CSB enabler provides technology to implement CSB, and a CSB provider offers combined technology, people and methodologies to implement and manage CSB-related projects."

Here is my perspective, in less formal terms: when done well, cloud services brokerage takes the reality of the "cloud-as-it-is," removes some of the pain, mess, clutter and confusion, and brings it closer to the "cloud-as-we'd-like-it-to-be."

Gartner identifies three areas within brokerage: aggregation, integration and customization. Gartner provides nice explanations of these areas, but I have my own words that might be helpful for those new to this concept.

  • Every cloud service that a company consumes brings with it the need for a set of management and administration tasks, such as provisioning, user access and authentication, monitoring SLAs and more. Across a corporation, users may need to access and manage 10 or perhaps dozens of different cloud services from multiple cloud service vendors. Clearly, life would be easier with a unified and consistent interface to all these services. Bringing all this together is an important task for cloud services brokerage: aggregation.
  • The apps we decide to use in the cloud are, at first, independent chunks of software. To fulfill a business need, we need to make those apps communicate and work and play nicely with other applications. Some of those other applications are also up there in the cloud; others are Earth-based, kept in captivity in a company's own data center, where they are fed and watered by the IT team. Making all those applications work together in a way that fulfills a business need is another important task for cloud services brokerage: integration.
  • Closely linked with integration, we will almost certainly have to set up the way that each one of our cloud apps work, so that it is aligned with the exact way we want to do business. This means tweaking and sometimes adding functionality, creating the kind of look and feel that users expect, and setting a host of parameters to ensure that the system behaves in accordance with our business rules, security standards and regulatory requirements. I would like to call this activity configuration, in line with the MetraTech philosophy that users and integrators should, in the 21st century, be able to set all this up in metadata. However some apps may need actual coding or the addition of helper applications, and so Gartner realistically calls this cloud service brokerage task: customization.

I can think of an additional task that is no doubt assumed as part of the above but isn't specifically mentioned. I already pointed out that one of the difficulties potential users have is choosing the optimal suite of apps from all those that are out there, and this can get in the way of cloud adoption. I think this is important enough to add as a fourth possible task for CSBs:

  • A knowledgeable cloud service broker can help companies cope with the "tyranny of choice" by offering, as part of the CSB service, the ability to choose from various portfolios of apps known to work well together, possibly with industry-specific recommendations. Organizing and describing relevant applications and app bundles in some kind of cloud service catalog is a necessity if businesses are going to be able to navigate the universe of choices and make informed decisions; as such, there is something else CSBs should also facilitate: selection.

CSB software should be able to support one or all of the above tasks, orchestrating selection, aggregation, integration and customization for multiple cloud apps through one unified and consistent portal.

A CSB service provider (SP) may perform any or all of these tasks on behalf of a client and will probably use CSB software to do so. A CSB SP sounds like a brand new entity in the firmament. Sometimes those CSB SPs may be new companies set up to deliver those CSB services. However, at least initially, it is likely that most CSB SPs will be companies we already know: systems integrators, communications service providers, Internet service providers and cloud vendors. Since the move to cloud services reduces the need for IT departments to look after software, operating systems, virtual machines and racks of hardware in their own data centers, we expect more than a few large enterprises will set up cloud services brokerage teams in-house, using the IT experts who already understand their business needs.

In a future blog, I'll look at cloud services brokerage again, when I'll raise the all-important topic of monetization.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

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
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Continuous Delivery makes it possible to exploit findings of cognitive psychology and neuroscience to increase the productivity and happiness of our teams. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Daniel Jones, CTO of EngineerBetter, will answer: How can we improve willpower and decrease technical debt? Is the present bias real? How can we turn it to our advantage? Can you increase a team’s effective IQ? How do DevOps & Product Teams increase empathy, and what impact does empath...
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
You know you need the cloud, but you're hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You're looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you're concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies. What do you do?
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.