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The Continued Evolution of the Cloud Brokerage By @Stratustician | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Many organizations started dabbling their toes in the Cloud Broker waters by building their own platforms internally

The Continued Evolution of the Cloud Brokerage
By Andrea Knoblauch

It’s no secret that I’m a huge advocate of Cloud Brokerage. These service providers make it easy for organizations to build and manage a customized solution made up of a wide catalogue of cloud services, and take out the headaches of dealing with multiple vendors.  The downside for cloud brokers is that as cloud solutions are becoming more widely adopted, making sure they all work together and can be supported as a solution became a large obstacle. As a result, we haven’t seen as many cloud brokers as expected due to the back end legwork required to manage these solutions.  Now a Github initiative is looking to help fix that last barriers to cloud brokerage.

Many organizations started dabbling their toes in the Cloud Broker waters by building their own platforms internally. It was a way for them to resell cloud services offered by Cloud Service Providers to other companies. It’s a great concept, but unfortunately it needs a lot of back end work to manage the processes and resources that keep these up and running. It also meant that they had to ensure they had the right solutions their customers wanted that worked internally with their own systems, which often resulted in additional need to ensure APIs were available to connect the services.  This doesn’t even include development teams and resources required to support an increasing library of solutions.

At this stage we saw Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs) step in, who created a new reseller model whereby they would have brokers resell the CSP solutions from their catalogue.  As new vendors emerged, better integration between services along with increased education made cloud brokers more capable of selling full solutions.  They started looking for more solutions to offer in their brokerage catalogues and more competitive services and analytics to offer their customers.  The management of a large catalogue of solutions that need to connect with other services means a lot of focus for CSPs has to be on support, and without standardization there is a point when it becomes beyond manageable.

The real issue is ensuring that the applications themselves are constantly updated, patched and work with other solutions offered by the same broker. It also means that they need to have standard functionality that could be fed into dashboards, billing platforms and service desks in order to make it manageable for both customers and the brokers themselves.  It also has to be low maintenance from both a broker and customer side in order to maintain satisfaction and service levels.

Here is where we saw an unlikely solution step up to tackle Brokerage: Open Source. This is a thriving community full of folks who are able to work with the many solution APIs and incorporate them into a platform. A great example is the Open Source community’s recent rally towards Project Jellyfish, a Github initiative created by the folks at Booz Allen to make it easier to create cloud service management and brokering. Prior to this, each Brokerage platform had to create its own way to manage things like workflows, collaboration dashboards and service blueprinting. By streamlining the process and making the overall platform available through Github, the community involved in enabling open source cloud platforms for Brokers now can help drive more application availability through coding APIs that work with the platform. This means more applications, more support and higher adoption rates.

Cloud Brokerage is a great way for organizations to procure cloud services, and as the market opportunity grows, we’ll see the continued increase in support for multiple applications and lower overall complexity.  It’s also a great opportunity for solution providers and cloud brokers to start offering Open Source based services with a community to support them.

For more information on Project Jellyfish, visit their page at http://www.projectjellyfish.org/

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