Let’s face it, sorting out all the various cloud offerings from service providers, technology manufacturers software developers is getting more difficult. It seems as if every day there is a new cloud platform or automation tool available, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for organizations to keep track of all these advancements without losing sight of their organizations own objectives.
It is from this that we are seeing an increased need for a new type of service provider, the cloud broker. Cloud brokers will start to play a key role in three areas of opportunities according to Gartner, cloud service intermediation, aggregation and cloud service arbitrage. So why do we need cloud brokers?
It makes sense for cloud service providers to start working with cloud brokers to help ensure that their services are meeting the needs of the market. Cloud brokers can provide extra benefit to services offered by cloud providers by building additional services upon their platforms including security or advanced management. They can also assist customers in creating customer solutions spread across multiple providers and manage the integration into a single platform. Lastly, cloud brokers will evolve to be the regulators of the space by supplying flexibility and fostering competition between cloud providers to ensure that end users benefit from the most opportunistic choices.
Personally, I am most excited about seeing cloud providers as a single point for customers to purchase multiple services from leading vendors, and allowing for a federated platform including idenitity services, security and infrastructure. It will also ensure that should there be a service interruption, the cloud broker will have the ability to move services around to keep organizations up and running until the interruption is resolved.
Where is the opportunity for cloud brokers? Right now there is a lot of talk about cloud brokerage services in the government space. Due to the high regulatory and compliance requirements, it will be beneficial for governments to outsource their cloud strategies to cloud brokers whom can work across multiple vendors to build a tailored cloud solution that meets the needs of the government. This saves the governmental agencies large amounts of time spent sourcing and reduces the risk of choosing services that would be incompatible with the goals of the project.
Right now there are a few major players in the cloud brokerage space, mainly RightScale and Cloudkick, with companies including Elastra, Kaavo, Enstratus and CloudSwitch also starting to expand into this space. In Canada, I expect that the telecommunication providers will start to foray into these markets with some building their own in-house services, and the other key players moving into the cloud brokerage model.