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Is a Cloud Service Broker Right for Your Business?
Is a Cloud Service Broker Right for Your Business?
By Jennifer LeClaire / NewsFactor Network Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
Cloud computing is all the rage, one of the growing sectors of a struggling IT industry. But cloud computing is far from mature. Indeed, it's evolving with combinations of complex cloud services too difficult for end users to integrate with any assurance of success.

That's why Gartner is predicting that, as cloud services are adopted, cloud-service brokerages (CSBs) will offer services to govern their use, performance and delivery. Gartner predicts these brokerages will use several types of brokers and platforms to enhance service delivery and, ultimately, service value.

Gartner predicts that worldwide cloud-services revenue will surpass $56.3 billion in 2009, a 21.3 percent increase from the $46.4 billion generated last year. The market could reach $150.1 billion in 2013.

Although cloud services may be delivered through technology, Gartner sees a clear need for brokerage businesses. Gartner defines a brokerage as a service where a broker may simply be a business-to-business (B2B) technology provider. The firm believes CSBs, which will broker relationships between a service consumer and a service provider, are one of the most necessary and attainable opportunities for cloud-service providers.

"The future of cloud computing will be permeated with the notion of brokers negotiating relationships between providers of cloud services and the service customers," said L. Frank Kenney, research director at Gartner. "In this context, a broker might be software, appliances, platforms or suites of technologies that enhance the base services available through the cloud. Enhancement will include managing access to these services, providing greater security, or even creating completely new services."

The Demand for CSBs

Gartner isn't putting any numbers against its predictions, but it does have industry support. The integration between cloud-computing and on-premise systems is on a critical path, as is cloud-provider to cloud-provider connectivity, according to David S. Linthicum, author of Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise: A Step-by-Step Guide.

"Most enterprise architects looking to leverage cloud computing don't factor in the need for integration. That planning needs to be part of the architecture," Linthicum said. "Indeed, we'll need brokers from enterprise-to-cloud and cloud-to-cloud."

As he sees it, CSBs will mitigate the differences in how cloud-computing providers store and manage information, transforming the data and protocols as information moves between cloud providers and on-premise systems, or cloud-to-cloud.

"Just like traditional integration brokers, this will be a complete subsystem which will provide connectivity, semantic mediation, protocol mediation, governance and security service, and can either be delivered as an on-premise system, or more likely as a cloud-computing provider offering integration services on demand," Linthicum said. (continued...)

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Posted: 2010-04-20 @ 4:11pm PT
There are companies who are doing cloud services aggregated delivery / management, for example Telstra's T-Suite. Jamcracker (http://www.jamcracker.com/Unified-Cloud-Services) provides a platform that enables service providers to aggregate cloud offerings from multiple providers and deliver them via a unified self-service portal with single sign-on access for their customers.

Enterprise IT Operations will increasingly become internal cloud services brokers by using technology from providers such as Jamcracker to deliver private and public cloud services to their internal 'customers.'

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