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Envisioning Cloud Brokering for a New Year
As 2013 begins, it's a natural time to explore where cloud brokering is headed
By: Matt Davies
Jan. 28, 2013 09:15 AM
Hopefully you watched Forrester's Stefan Ried present his webinar on cloud brokering and the many opportunities for different kinds of companies to exploit this technology. Part of Stefan's conversation included an explanation of the evolution to a unified cloud broker. If you missed it, you can catch up with it here.
As 2013 begins, it's a natural time to explore where cloud brokering is headed. A cloud broker is the intersection of infrastructure, software and consultancy. Naturally, technology is a key enabler for a service provider adopting the broker role but it also impacts business models and consultancy.
This diagram summarizes concept into the high-level architecture discussed above:
In the blue is a proposed "Unified Cloud Broker Platform." This shows how a cloud broker can take existing applications, SaaS and IaaS, and create customer value and a new cloud portfolio from them. This isn't necessarily a single product but shows the elements needed to offer the component parts that a cloud broker would need in their "stack" to offer compelling cloud offerings to ISVs, SMEs, enterprises and cloud ecosystem partners:
On the right of the diagram (in yellow) you can see the operations side of what a broker needs to do. This varies from billing and metering of the variety of services offered by the broker through to the day-to-day operations such as customer onboarding, order management and issue resolution. On top of that, business stakeholders and channel managers need visibility and intelligence into the operations, customer management and portfolio offerings.
On the left of the diagram (in green), you can see how an organization can use the unified cloud broker stack to create consultancy and professional services based offerings on top of the broker stack. By extending the capabilities of a unified cloud broker platform with PaaS, a service provider can create and take to market industry solutions such as financial services, energy/utilities, manufacturing/logistics, healthcare, etc. You can see this today from leading telcos, which are offering business and enterprise services. In fact this seems to be a dynamic area of M&A with telco service provider acquiring technology companies to build out their broker stack and create new industry vertical cloud offerings. These vertical solutions are typically then taken to market through consulting and professional services to customize and implement them for a customer's needs. The lengthy implementation cycles are greatly reduced as the capability is delivered from the cloud broker platform and customer specific customizations are composed and personalized thanks to a cloud delivery model and a well put together broker platform offering "mass customization."
While the cloud broker picture is still evolving, it's getting clearer, and it should crystallize throughout 2013.
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