Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Destiny Bertucci, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Amitabh Sinha

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Agile Computing, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Who Are You, Cloud Broker?

In this article, I cover the perceptions, evolution and future of cloud brokerage in great detail.

Cloud brokers were recognized and described by Gartner analysts as the `Intermediary services that support fast cloud adoption`. From their customers’ perspectives cloud brokers are the system integrators (SI) or the `cloud enablers` that support fast adoption and maintenance of cloud technologies. For example, the independent software vendor (ISV) can benefit greatly from a cloud managed service provider (MSP) starting with integrating into the underlying cloud infrastructure, all the way up to the offering stack wrappers, such as service provisioning methodologies’ implementation. From the cloud provider’s perspective, cloud brokers are key customers, value-added resellers and aggregators of its cloud services. In this article, I cover the perceptions, evolution and future of cloud brokerage in great detail.

First, an Example: AWS Partners’ Program (APN)

“It (`Amazon Partner Network`- APN) is focused on helping Partners build a successful AWS-based business by providing members of the AWS partner ecosystem with great technical, sales, marketing, and GTM support.”

AWS partners come in two types: the `Technology partner` and the `Consultant partner` as Amazon calls them. While the former includes ISVs (independent software solution vendors) which deliver products that support the AWS consumer cloud operations, the latter includes SIs, MSPs and other professional service agencies that can support the deployment, integration and maintenance within the AWS cloud environment. Amazon already has an impressive figure of 858 of worldwide service agencies or `Consulting Partners` as it calls them.

“Within each of these two partner types, partners can attain one of three progressive performance-based tiers. These three tiers are: Registered, Standard, and Advanced. ” Learn more here.

APN partners types

The AWS Partners’ Program includes a strict set of rules to generate the discipline and scale. That helps the AWS Partners’ Program (APN) guys control the incredible number of partners and its amazing velocity. According to Macquarie analysts, AWS business is growing like crazy, estimated to almost double its revenues, from $2 billion in 2012 to $3.8 billion in 2013. Macquarie also stated that AWS’ growth can come from additional new partnerships and extending current ones. The cloud giant invests significantly in educating and supporting its partners with their own online portal, co-marketing activities, a great amount of webinars and dedicated events such as a full devoted day as part of AWS Reinvent conference in Las Vegas. The AWS partnership program is an important example to learn from as it demonstrates a new and advanced way to establish and manage an excellent and rapidly growing cloud ecosystem.

Second - How to Choose Your Cloud MSP Wisely? It’s All about Low Cost of Integration
Lowering the TCO (total cost of ownership) in the cloud is a key incentive for enterprises to generate new or move existing workloads within the cloud. The cloud operational costs include the actual cloud resources costs, the initial deployment costs and moreover the ongoing costs for environment maintenance. A veteran cloud MSP CEO once told me that the latter may even be equal to the bill you get from your cloud provider. Whether or not this is true, it is obvious that these ongoing costs have greater risks, as we understand today, these costs are the main cause the traditional IT project high risk of failure. Cloud operations efficiency develops first and foremost from the capability to generate greater levels of automation in comparison to the traditional data center environment. In the cloud, a single admin/ops guy can manage hundreds and sometimes even thousands of servers. There are many granular areas of automation that you have to take a look at to really be able to fine tune what’s going on. First of all, at the instance/VM level, you need to be able to start the `right size instance` and scale it horizontally to align with the demand. Looking at the requirements on the application level (such as the SLA), you need to consider if it makes more sense for the application to be auto-deployed in a single region, a single availability zone, or maybe go multi-region or potentially, multi-cloud. This was a long introduction to the fact that in order to achieve the efficiency and get to optimal levels of utilization and availability, the cloud adopter must start with the knowledge and experience that the cloud broker has. Generating low TCO and know-how-to scale without risks might be the key values to serve as benchmarks for successful cloud adoption and the cloud integrator’s professionalism. The professional cloud broker must present proven efficient operations with, most importantly, the knowledge and recognized experience of deploying, integrating and running effective cloud management.

Third - With All That Said, Why are Cloud MSPs Also Cloud Brokers?
Accenture, maybe one of the world wide leading IT integration service vendors, sees itself as a major player in the cloud sphere as a cloud broker. Reuven Cohen, a Contributor at Forbes and Founder of SpotCloudrecently revealed that Accenture

“… [is] investing upwards of $400 million in new cloud computing capabilities. According to the story, the Accenture Cloud Platform will be part of what the company describes as a plan to grow its more than 6,700 cloud focused experts and related cloud services.”

It is only natural that the traditional MSP finds itself transforming into a cloud MSP. The traditional accountability for delivering a complete integrated solution along with being the single contact for an enterprise IT, puts the MSPs in a place where they need to be able to recommend the best matched cloud provider for the enterprise. The recommendation should also cover a specific workload at the granular level. Automation of workload migration between clouds (including the private cloud) generates an extremely complex environment. Cloud brokers must have the knowledge, tools and set procedures in order to generate an efficient and manageable environment for their customers.

Fourth – The Future of Cloud Brokerage

cloud options logo “Cloud brokers will focus on the business of compute rather than the technical organization of compute.  And the business of compute has nothing to do with cloud computing or the technology driving this revolution. The business of compute is about the commoditization of compute, network and storage infrastructure” read more Dr. James Mitchell, CEO of Strategic Blue, who is considered to be one of the most important leaders of the cloud brokerage topic and the founder of Cloud Options (check their demo).

Cloud brokers today function as liaisons between cloud services customers and providers. The cloud broker also acts as a hub of cloud consumers, hence they are the biggest and most important clients to the end cloud operators. This gives cloud brokers the upper hand, so negotiating with an operator on a `reselling` point means better deals and prices for their customers. An IT organization, depending on its size, should not desire to deal and negotiate with cloud providers. This aggregation of cloud resources, together with their added-value services, integration and customization capabilities, places the MSPs today, maybe more than ever, in a high position in the IT market value chain. According to Mitchell, the future of cloud brokerage will be comprised of a plane of online worldwide IT marketplaces for trading IT resources. This vision is wonderful, however, great challenges await to make that happen, such as uniformity across cloud platforms that can enable the workload migration as well as the lack of applications’ interoperability capabilities.

Fifth - The Last Important Note
While leveraging your cloud with MSPs/Brokers has great advantages, mentioned above, keep in mind that the most successful cloud adopters I came across have developed and currently have their own cloud operation capabilities.  Every IT organization (specifically ISVs) must create these as core skills while learning how to smartly leverage the cloud brokering (first financial) advantages to generate a successful business from of their cloud.

More Stories By Ofir Nachmani

Ofir Nachmani is a Cloud Computing Evangelist, Blogger and Lecturer at IAmOnDemand.com. He has extensive experience helping ISV companies with cloud adoption and management. Today, Ofir is a Senior Vice President and Chief Evangelist at Newvem Analytics Ltd. Prior to these he led ClickSoftware’s On-Demand initiative and established the company cloud offering. On his previous adventure, he led ClickSoftware’s On-Demand (SaaS) initiative and also held several positions at Zarathustra SaaS development VP of product and company CEO. In 2009, ClickSoftware acquired the AST group and Zarathustra as part of it. Twitter: @iamondemand

@CloudExpo Stories
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
Continuous Delivery makes it possible to exploit findings of cognitive psychology and neuroscience to increase the productivity and happiness of our teams. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Daniel Jones, CTO of EngineerBetter, will answer: How can we improve willpower and decrease technical debt? Is the present bias real? How can we turn it to our advantage? Can you increase a team’s effective IQ? How do DevOps & Product Teams increase empathy, and what impact does empath...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
You know you need the cloud, but you're hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You're looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you're concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies. What do you do?
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.