Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cloud Realities Call for a Broker to Navigate Multiple Cloud Service Providers

Q&As on the Cloud Market Landscape: Cloud Service Brokerage

Many enterprises are considering multiple cloud service providers for their leap into the cloud. The drawback to That leads to questions about how you make those services work together, or how you unify all your efforts so you can get maximum effectiveness and efficiency. 


What is Cloud Service Brokerage? 
The term “cloud service brokerage” emerged about 3 years ago, mostly as a catch-all for the services and companies that fell outside of the traditional acronyms. Cloud service brokerage (dubbed CSB) can be defined by what it is not: CSBs are not providing Infrastructure, Platform or Software as a Serivce (the holy trinity of cloud: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS). CSBs are not always vendors - cloud providers, enterprise IT departments or independent providers can offer CSB services. 

CSB are “cloud enablers” meaning they connect multiple cloud deployments, cloud and physical data centers and across the cloud ecosystem.  To quote Gartner, CSBs are enablers to improve end-to-end service delivery and to expedite the resolution of problems that occur when multiple cloud services are combined.” 

Why do we need CSBs or Cloud Enablement?
When enterprises use multiple clouds, public and private clouds, or connect physical data centers to deployed clouds, the managing and connecting can be challenging. Because cloud computing is evolving, internal IT departments cannot either do it all or rely solely on a cloud provider for guidance. 
The big 3 brokerage needs CSBs solve are:
  • Aggregation: bringing together multiple cloud services, federating clouds, centralizing cloud functions, and archiving 
  • Customization: Add or change capabilities such as analytics, IT services across the enterprise, and meet industry security requirements
  • Integration:  brining cloud services to work together, such as streamlining IT, using SaaS and cloud offerings and centralizing a point of governance

Why are there CSB vendors? Can’t Cloud Providers and Enterprises do this on their own?
In order to get with the times, every business is using some form of the cloud, even if it’s the cloud-based CRM Salesforce.com.  To manage the complexities, CSBs should be a growing part of the IT toolshed. Whether internal, via service provider or an independent vendor, a CSB will fill the role of adapting to cloud computing, speeding up business outcomes and add the security of a well managed cloud plan. 

What should enterprise consider with CSBs? 
Always at the top of the list: security. No matter how a CSB fits with the enterprise or the coverage, CSBs should add a layer of security and management. The customization and integration parts of the brokerage service should streamline security as well as increase internal transparency and operability. 

Gartner suggests weighing the following needs when deciding on internal or external CSB:
  • Capital vs. Operation funding
  • Risk reduction to enterprise and risk to customer
  • IT skills and resources internally vs. Outsourced IT expertise
  • The time to deploy internally create a brokerage team vs. Time to vet an external vendor
  • Industry and agency requirements for security, access and control
  • Enterprise focus on business outcomes vs. IT enablement

“So whether you rely on an external CSB or start looking for one in-house, it’s important to recognize that CSBs must be part of your company’s cloud equation for maximum results, wrote Gartner Fellow Daryl Plummer.  “Otherwise, the benefits you realize from moving services outside the organization may very well be hampered by the mess created inside.”

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