Should You Work With a Cloud Services Broker?
If your enterprise is considering a cloud services broker to work with, the interest was likely piqued by the promise of someone gathering data for you about various cloud services, including information about cost, efficiency and functionality. A cloud services broker is designed to do this for you, acting as a third party to help you determine which cloud services meet your needs and mesh with your applications. Ideally, this type of software will be able to find the best of several public and private cloud services.
Shortcomings of a Cloud Services Broker
These benefits may seem like a great option for busy decision-makers, but there are several obstacles that can hamper the ability of a cloud services broker. For instance, many cloud-based applications must be localized for a particular cloud platform, and, if you’re locked in to a specific cloud platform, it can be difficult to use other cloud services. Additionally, most cloud services brokers can only help you with generic cloud-based services.
Containerization of applications has been presented as a possible solution to these shortfalls. According to InfoWorld, “Containers should be able to work with most cloud services, so they can truly be allocated to whatever cloud services makes the most sense at the moment yet retain their custom capabilities.”
However, even if containers allow your enterprise to move applications from cloud to cloud, you may not want to deal with the added complexity and variability. It may actually be easier to monitor actual usage and scale your chosen service-level agreements accordingly.
A Better Brokerage Solution
For these reasons, the best option for many enterprises is to identify a cloud services broker that can actually provide an automated, self-service view of a variety of cloud providers. This isn’t the way most cloud services brokers operate, but a select few offer these capabilities.
To be truly helpful, the cloud services broker you choose should also do the following:
- Review and audit each cloud provider for strengths and weaknesses.
- Clarify cost structures and contractual complexities to provide a clear understanding of pros, cons and the long-term value of each provider.
- Provide a framework for rapidly integrating your existing contractual relationships with cloud vendors.
- Support accurate and timely access to service providers and delivery environments you choose.
- Facilitate the delivery of a multisourced solution using existing service management tools through open APIs.
- Provide a single system of record that tracks an order from design through billing, and enable centralized governance and cost management by application, virtual data center and business unit.
On the surface, cloud services brokers may seem like an ideal solution for the IT challenges facing your enterprise. However, not all of them are created equal. It’s important to investigate your options carefully and select a cloud services broker that can fulfill your enterprise’s needs.