Cloud Service Broker: The New System Integrator
Cloud Service Brokerage is changing from an industry footnote toward becoming a major system integration play. This role has now become a crucial component of a cloud computing transition because they help organizations aggregate multiple cloud services, integrate services with in-house applications, and customize these services to better meet customer needs. CSBs also help by consulting and recommending the best fit cloud services according to business requirements and goals. Cloud brokers may also be granted rights to negotiate with different service providers on behalf of their customers. This transformation is driven by the rapid rise of cloud computing, which has risen from under $6B in 2008 to a point where the market is expected to almost reach $160B in 2020. The global Cloud Service Brokerage Market itself is expected to grow from $5.24 Billion in 2015 to $19.16 Billion by 2020.
Since CSBs merge the functions of reseller, systems integrator and independent software vendor (ISVs) into a convenient service delivery model, they deliver solutions by aggregating cloud services sourced from multiple cloud service providers. They can also customize those services to meet unique business requirements. Although CSBs often deliver transactional cloud services, their real value lies in the unique ongoing operational support they provide. Unlike financial or real estate brokers that typically end their customer relationship after the sale, CSBs:
- Enable cloud service arbitrage based on cost, performance or operational need;
- Help companies migrate operations to the cloud and assist with staff augmentation and training;
- Provide cloud service auditing and SLA monitoring services;
- Help in focusing and managing organizational cloud service demand;
- Provided toolsets to assist in the migration and integration of enterprise applications; and
- Help in change management and the selection and integration of other managed services.
By automating and operationalizing the governance of cloud services, CSBs can efficiently multi-source services and augment them with third party metering and monitoring. Using CSBs, organizations also accelerate their transition to hybrid IT models. This marketplace is typically segmented type of services: cloud brokerage and cloud brokerage enablement, wherein cloud brokerage enablement is further segmented into internal and external brokers. When used internally, cloud enablement platforms help enterprises adopt the new hybrid IT and multi-sourced operating model. By building organic expertise, companies can personalize IT service consumption and unify IT service delivery through the use of a corporate self-service store, a dynamic service marketplace, and continuous delivery. This centralized, supply chain approach unifies the order, execution, and management of multi-sourced solutions across legacy and cloud resources, by centrally delegating and tracking execution.
Another important management capability they deliver is performance auditing. Cloud Service Provider (CSP) price/performance has been shown to vary as much as 1000 percent depending on time and location. High levels of variability have also been seen within the same CSP processing the exact same job. This also means that the cost for an enterprise to processing the exact same job in the cloud could vary by this much as well.
Changes in instance types, pricing, performance over time and availability of services by location highlights the inadequacy of traditional benchmarking philosophies and processes. The use of “performance quotas” by service providers may also lead to operational cost increases. This generally happens if a customer meets a CSP-determined management quota and the performance of relevant instance is reduced. Active metering and monitoring by a CSB can help companies detect and avoid this hidden cost.
As the cloud service brokers market matures, they are destined to replace the traditional system integrator. Maturation of technologies and CSB offerings will also make this service a “must-have” for the foreseeable future.