The rise of cloud brokers

Over the last year, I have noticed a great deal of interest in cloud brokerage – both in terms of the companies offering the services and in enterprise adoption.  And according to our friends at Gartner, its set to continue.  The analyst house predicts that by 2015, most cloud computing customers will rely on a broker to handle a diverse range of services, from discounted pricing to custom application monitoring.

The termcloud services brokerage’ was introduced by Gartner back in 2009. Yet a few years on, there is still confusion in the industry about what a cloud broker actually does. Cloud brokers take an intermediate role in cloud computing. They create and maintain relationships with multiple cloud suppliers, providing tools to enable customers to select the best combination of services and SLA’s to meet their needs. Brokers help companies to choose the best cloud platforms for their needs, aggregate multiple cloud services and deliver them to the organisation with value-added features. Essentially, they work in a similar way to insurance brokers.

To many organisations cloud computing is still unchartered waters. The cloud market is diverse and complicated, and there are many pitfalls that organisations need to avoid. For example many firms succumb to cloud sprawl through individual parts of the business procuring their own cloud services. This is why guidance from cloud brokers is good news for many.

In addition to simplicity and cost-effectiveness, cloud brokers help customers with their cloud security requirements. They analyse the security capabilities of providers and recommend those which are sufficient for purpose. Firms also benefit from not having to work with many cloud suppliers - there’s only one cloud broker relationship to manage.

While not a cloud broker service, Intel has launched a matchmaking programme – Intel Cloud Finder – which speeds the search and selection of cloud service providers. It’s a portal which enables IT to quickly assess and compare the service capabilities of various public cloud service providers. Intel provides the technology foundation on which the cloud is built and has brought together suppliers from around the world to participate in the program.

The role of brokers is going to grow significantly over the next twelve months. Brokerage allows organisations to focus on their core business while benefitting from the advantages of cloud-based services – so it’s a win-win situation! Over time, I expect this to lead to broker services becoming increasingly refined and sophisticated as demand grows and competition increases.

Intel Cloud Builders is a cross-industry initiative aimed at making it easier to build, enhance, and operate cloud infrastructure. Its work is relevant to enterprises, hosters, telcos, and service providers looking for transformational guidance that will yield more simplified, secure, and efficient cloud infrastructures.