by Daryl Plummer | February 9, 2012 | 15 Comments
The Gartner Cool Vendors process happens at the beginning of each year and terminates in the April timeframe with the publication of our annual list of relatively un-known but interesting IT vendors.
In early January, we launched the internal nominations process for identifying Cool Vendors candidates. After a month of interaction, we finally reviewed and selected from a list of over 400 vendors. Unfortunately, many Vendors want to know how they can apply for Cool Vendors’ selection. The answer is that they cannot apply directly. Instead, analysts within the Gartner community are the only ones who can nominate a vendor for selection. In addition, we get asked frequently why large vendor with nice products (e.g. IBM, Apple, or Google) are not listed. The answer is simply that we are trying to highlight little-known vendors who are relatively small (1-100 million in annual revenues is ideal even though we allow exceptions).
The next stage is to move from selection to writing of the notes. This will happen during February and March, culminating with the publishing of the pieces in April. This year, we will do a look back to previous Cool Vendors selection in a retrospective piece. We will examine some key statistics about Cool Vendors as a whole over the years since 2004.
With almost 1500 Cool Vendors listed since 2004 the Cool Vendors process has benefitted many companies by allowing them to be seen by vendors looking for acquisition targets, investors seeking a new investment opportunity, and enterprise customers trying to find vendors to work with. Cool Vendors is a great resource for mining innovation.
So, keep an eye out as Cool Vendors reports begin to hit the street over the next few months.
Category: Applications Broker Business Process Management Cloud Cool Vendors Tags: Billing, Business, Cloud, Trends
by Daryl Plummer | December 13, 2011 | 2 Comments
In 2011, Cloud Services Brokerage (CSB) has grown from a minor curiosity into a major point of interest for cloud providers and consumers alike. The issues of aggregating, integrating, customizing, and governing cloud services have become serious ones for small, medium, and large Enterprises who need help getting their cloud services to be the solutions they hope for. This growth is expected to continue as the number of providers grows and as consumers continue with more critical cloud deployments.
Part of the evidence of cloud growth has been that even the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) have now added cloud brokerage to its definitions for cloud computing. In fact, since Gartner introduced the concept in January 2009, several advisory outlets have followed suit and added it to their coverage. For a good quick look at how the research has progressed, see Benoit Lheureux’s blog post for a look back.
So, what’s on the horizon for cloud brokerage? Well, the answer is a good one. CSB has moved from basic definitions to the question of who can do this kind of work (see our Who’s Who in Cloud Services Brokerage for a beginning list). Next up is an examination of the economics of doing brokerage in a world where cost savings are at the top of everyone’s mind. Will brokers cost you less by passing wholesale pricing from cloud providers to consumers? Or will brokers add to the cost of using cloud services but that is offset by adding value in innovative ways?
And what about the different types of brokerage? The idea of arbitrage of cloud services is one we introduced with the concept but had seen little traction through 2011. However, there are indications that arbitrage may be about to rise. Recently, VMWare produced an article on cloud cost arbitrage that hinted that the concept might be about to come into its own. We’ve also seen a few clients implement simple forms of sourcing and booking arbitrage.
And, alongside brokerage, there is the idea of financing cloud services that may become a prime brokerage opportunity. Finance and lease companies are evaluating the brokerage concept to figure out what their existence might look like in the cloud through becoming a broker of payments between consumers and multiple cloud providers. The advantage to consumers – more predictable cost management. The advantage to providers – up-front payments. Keep an eye out for my article on this in financial times.
So, the future for Cloud Services Brokerage looks green. And if that future shines bright, so will the cloud concept overall.
Category: Bill of Rights Broker Cloud Cloud Broker Cloud Services Brokerage Emerging Phenomena Emerging Trends Virtualization Tags: Broker, Brokerage, Cloud Broker, Cloud Brokerage, Cloud Sevices Brokerage
by Daryl Plummer | October 26, 2011 | 1 Comment
Natural Cloud Salespeople
Category: Cartoon Cloud Uncategorized Tags:
by Daryl Plummer | October 26, 2011 | Comments Off
Your motto shold be: If you assume Public Cloud CAN work for you, you will soon discover what it CANNOT do. If you assume Public cloud CANNOT work for you then you will NEVER discover what it CAN do! Back your way into the appropriate choices or lock yourself out of them – its your choice.
Category: Cloud Emerging Trends Uncategorized Tags:
by Daryl Plummer | August 31, 2011 | 2 Comments
All of a sudden, everyone is interested in cloud services brokerage. Well, by everyone, I mean end customers looking for an easier way to integrate cloud computing into their plans and vendors seeking a new set of markets to mine. But no matter the interested party, one thing is clear. The options for doing cloud brokerage are growing steadily.
When we introduced cloud services brokerage in 2009, we described a concept about intermediation between services. The value was in having a third party take on a lot of the work of aggregating, integrating, customizing, or governing (nee managing) cloud services on behalf of the end consumer. In a subsequent update last year, we did a number of reports, including a piece called “Cloud Services Brokerage: Taking Intermediation to the next Level” that described the concept in even more detail. But through all of that, the activity around cloud brokerage remained mostly at the application and platform level of cloud services. Companies like Appirio and Jamcracker were getting a lot of attention for integrating or aggregating cloud services into new application solutions. GXS, Hubspan, and Liaison were among the B2B networks starting to see interest grow – a case study on Mohawk Fine Papers that we recently published illustrates this. And this week, Dell has announced its plans to broker Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and other cloud SaaS solutions by aggregating and integrating using the Boomi brokerage enabling technology which they acquired. This is part of the steady growth at the applications level. But now, we are beginning to see the rise of brokerage at the infrastructure level as well.
Recently, there has been a flurry of activity aimed at making it easier to migrate from one IaaS offering to another, not just to integrate or aggregate SaaS services. The scenario is that an IT organization wants to have a more seamless integration between different cloud IaaS or between their on premises systems and cloud IaaS. The path of migration has been a long one. Very few offerings for federating or brokering between IaaS transparently have been available. Some of the WAN optimization providers like SilverPeak and Riverbed have offered optimization and management to bring together hybrid solutions but not really for seamless migration back and forth. Companies like OKTA are offering more and more management across multiple cloud services as an aggregation brokerage. But one golden egg in today’s market is shaping up to be the ability to deliver strong integration across multiple cloud IaaS offerings through a CSB.
Since standards for cloud services are still a long way off (assuming they ever really emerge), it becomes interesting to look to cloud providers who can bridge the gap between cloud services. So, here is where companies like BESOL (a small company going to production by the end of the year), OS33, and even Zimory (a cloud management provider) are expecting to make a move, among others. The point of these offerings is to say that you need to manage across multiple cloud solutions and eventually, to migrate between them seamlessly. This allows you, for instance to use one cloud IaaS offering as a backup to another. Or, it can allow you to rapidly deploy the same workloads from one IaaS to another to get better pricing or performance as needed. Or, it simply allows you to manage billing, signon, use policies, and even use limits across different infrastructure services.
So, cloud services brokerage is real and getting easier to approach. IT organizations looking to gain a degree of control while still leveraging the flexibility and raw “trading” potential of the public cloud are gaining more options every day because of cloud services brokerage. And now, as we work on our “Who’s who in cloud Services Brokerage” we expect to see the options, and their growth potential, become undeniably concrete.
Category: Cloud Emerging Trends Service Orientation SOA SOA Governance Virtualization Tags: Billing, Cloud, Cloud computing, Commoditization, Elasticity, Enterprise, Pay as you go, private cloud, Services, SOA, Telecom enabled, Trends
by Daryl Plummer | November 8, 2010 | 8 Comments
I’m about to introduce a term to describe a solid trend in cloud computing integration – Cloudstreams.
It will come as no surprise to those of you who have spoken to me that this trend lays in the domain of cloud services brokerage. I have said, and will continue to say, that cloud services brokerage represents the single biggest revenue growth opportunity in cloud computing and that it is built on markets totaling near one trillion dollars in IT spend. That’s all well and good. But, when we get down to the details, we find that the biggest impact for actual customers will be found in a combination of four categories of brokerage – integration, customization, governance (including security), and aggregation.
Cloudstreams focuses on the integration, governance, and security impact points. Trust me, the definition is coming. And, no, I am not referring to the company Novosco who uses Cloudstream to describe many of its services (although it is related – free plug, guys).
An odd thing is that the companies who provide the brokerage enabling technologies to do integration, governance and security at the appliance level often have lots of trouble differentiating their products and messages from one another. Go check out companies like Apigee (formerly Sonoa), Layer 7, Vordel, Intel (Expressway), Mashery, and IBM Data Power (If I left your company off the list, don’t scream, just call me and say – “I’m in!”).
What you will find is a dizzying array of terminology for basically the same things. They talk about SOA gateways and XML appliances and providing security or management for SOA and now for the cloud. The products are delivered as on-premises appliances, software, or even cloud services. We at Gartner even cover these products on our SOA governance technologies magic quadrant (now being updated for the cloud too).
The reason for all these different terms is that the customers these companies serve all talk about their problems in different ways, even though they mostly face the same issues. These customers want to talk from internal systems to external services (SOA or cloud) and they want to manage, secure, integrate, and generally enhance the access they get to those services. The problem is, they all talk at the purely technical level when specifying their need; and, the vendors come back with similar technical language to address those needs. One company might say they need application programming interface (API) management; another needs XML acceleration, service governance, interface tracking and versioning, a SOA appliance, caching, or policies for Kerberos authentication. All these needs are valid and most are provided from multiple vendors. So, unless you get down into the details, it is hard to understand why you would choose one of these vendors over another.
So, here comes Cloudstreams. The cloud has made the need for integrating between services (someone told me, “if you’re over 30 you call it an ‘API’, and if you are under 30 you call it a ‘service’”) more evident than ever. Companies want to connect from on-premises apps to cloud services and from cloud services to cloud services. And, all of these connections need to be secure and governed for performance. In short, what they want are flexible, well-defined, integrations of services at the API level using policies to orchestrate the data, messages, and invocations associated with those services. That is a Cloudstream.
Well, it’s actually more than that. A Cloudstream is a packaged integration template that provides a description of everything necessary to govern, secure, and manage the interaction between two services at the API level. It requires an appliance (Humor me. Call it a cloud broker appliance) to act as a gateway between services that is delivered in hardware, software, or managed (cloud) service form. Cloudstreams can be opened and maintained by XML appliances, SOA appliances or gateways, or any intermediary technology that can broker cloud and SOA services.
Now, you might be asking yourself, if we have all those names, why do we need a new term at all? The answer is simple. Complexity kills. Simplicity is the order of the day for cloud computing.
What I mean is that its time to up-level the discussion of integrating APIs between services (SOA or cloud). Instead of talking about needing to authenticate between this API and that one, let’s talk about opening and closing streams of information flowing to and from SaaS applications. Let’s talk about opening message streams from our organization to the cloud and back. Let’s talk about self-service configurations of Cloudstreams in a simple tool that lets people set up what the data is, what the policies are, and what the key metrics are for performance and security. This is the only way we will ever get to a consistent way to describe the interactions between cloud services. This is about interoperability for the rest of us, not just the engineering geniuses in the basement.
And in case you think I made all this up in my basement, which is actually a theater, I ask you to look at a company like Layer 7 who offers all the necessary tools for providing these templates minus the self-service UI. In case you think I am being naïve, take a look at Mashery and then tell me that anything they do cannot be codified in one configuration file with relatively high level assertions and policies guiding the entire integration interaction. And if that is not enough for you or you think it’s too simple, go talk to GXS, who has created a trading network of over 33000 reusable templates for doing exactly this kind of thing in B2B scenarios and complex business solutions (not all cloud). Cloudstreams are not only feasible; they are only a marketing message and a configuration tool away for some vendors.
I’ve spent a lot of time looking at technologies for governing interactions between services. From SOA to the cloud, this issue always seems to be at the top of the minds of people interested in using APIs to communicate between systems. It will continue to be so. Cloudstreams offers a unifying direction for all those efforts and will be used in my research about cloud services brokerages if it begins to gain more traction. As we work out the next market forecasting exercises, the next round of new Magic Quadrants, and the evaluations of brokerage enabling technologies for the cloud, you will see this term pop up over and over again.
The idea of packaging up cloud integrations (CIs), as Cloudstreams, is one which opens the gates (pun intended) to many streams of opportunities for the vendors who do this type of intermediation. As long as they remember that the cloud (and by association, SOA) should be about abstracting away from the technical details of how you interact with services and providing a way to think of those interactions as part of the business use of a solution, there will be a place for Cloudstreams. Let’s focus on the resulting integration that is part of the solution, not just on the appliance or the specific technology assertions that have to be upheld. The IT organization can focus on the details of authentication, caching, single sign on, identity, and a host of other fun fiddly-bits while still delivering a part of the solution that business users need. Remember when we got integration adapters and ODBC database drivers? Cloudstreams are packaged integrating processes that can be pulled off the shelf and modified as needed.
Imagine one day when your business comes to you and says “hey, we just bought a SaaS app and didn’t tell you! Now we want you to get data out of it and back into our internal ERP!” Your response could easily be, “oh, we have a Cloudstream for that SaaS app!” or, “Well, here is our menu of Cloudstreams. Just match your app to the right Cloudstream and you’re good to go!”
Cloudstreams. Remember it. The concept will live. It won’t hurt if the name catches on.
Category: Cloud EA Emerging Phenomena Emerging Trends ERP Google IAM IT Governance Service Orientation SOA SOA Governance Social Computing Social Networking Social Sites Strategic Planning Vendor Contracts Virtualization Windows 7 Tags: Billing, Business, Cloud, Cloud computing, Cloud Services, Commoditization, Communities, Elasticity, hype, IBM, Inrastructure, IT, private cloud, Smarter Planet, SOA, Social, Telecommunications, Trends
by Daryl Plummer | October 11, 2010 | 1 Comment
I recently wrote a prediction stating that “Cloud Services Brokerage (CSB) is the single largest revenue growth opportunity in Cloud Computing”. Of course, not everyone agrees with that. So, I had to go out an try to provide more evidence. And to do that, I finished rewriting the definition of cloud services brokerage. Benoit Lheruex and I have been working steadily on this and are seeing notables such as Accenture, Deloitte, and IBM all begin to plan for a significant brokerage future alonside upstarts like Appirio, Boomi, and even stalwarts like GXS. See Ben’s blog post on CSB here.
So, in the definitional piece called “Defining Cloud Services Brokerage: Taking Intermediation to the Next Level”, we said (free peek):
Since CSB is not a technology. It is necessary to describe it in terms of a business model, providers, deliverables, functions and enablers:
- CSB business model: A model where a business acts on behalf of consumers of one or more cloud services to intermediate and add value to the service being consumed. Providers of cloud services can benefit as well through establishment of an ecosystem of partners, such as brokerages, who enhance the provider’s service and draw customers to it.
- CSB providers: Specific companies or other legal entities that offer CSB.
- CSB deliverables and functions: Business and technical value-added capabilities delivered by a CSB provider.
- CSB enablers and enabling technology: Various IT services, software or hardware assets used to deliver CSB.
But that wasn’t enough. We had to go on and provide a logical reference model (See “A Logical Reference Model for Cloud Services Brokerage“, by me - sorry about the pay wall) and some basis for the judgement that CSB is going to be big Big BIG! So, we used simple logic. We looked at the companies entering the CSB-related markets and companies that were already there. Now, from here, you can do the math.
Use whomever’s market numbers you want. Add up the custom development markets for SIs, SI application and integration projects, B2B integration markets, Process outsourcing (BPO) markets, API governance markets, context brokerage markets, security brokerage markets, value-added reseller markets, internet performance acceleration/content delivery markets, backup and recovery markets and…well, I could keep going but you get the point – we’re getting into the range where there is a “tr-” in front of the “-illion”. Now, let’s go conservative and attribute just 10% (that’s only one customer in 10 doing cloud stuff) of those market totals to companies in those markets doing what they do – but doing it for cloud services. And, if the number you come out with isn’t BIG, then I’ll ask you to count again.
Cloud services brokerage is not one market. It is a composition of parts of markets that are really significant in size. I’m not saying that all the revenue in those (and more) markets will be CSB revenue. I am saying that a non-trivial part will be. If cloud computing will be big, brokerage will flow right along with it. And just like the accessories markets for your iPod, Android phone, PC, and Honda accord, you will find the value-added intermediaries (brokerages) may command the lions share of the spend happening in cloud computing.
Some people feel intermediaries needlessly complicate things in the cloud. I feel the opposite. And, opportunity awaits.
A lot more is coming on this, so join the dialog!
Category: Applications Bill of Rights Business Process Management Cloud EA Emerging Phenomena Emerging Trends ERP Google IT Governance Responsibilities Service Orientation SOA SOA Governance Social Computing Social Networking Strategic Planning Uncategorized Vendor Contracts Virtualization Windows 7 Tags:
by Daryl Plummer | July 11, 2010 | 5 Comments
It has long been apparent to me that Cloud Computing represents a significant change in the relationships between providers of solutions based on technology and the consumers who use those solutions. Whether you are talking about how computing solutions are paid for, who delivers them, or what the contracts for those services look like, you have to deal with the trust that must be established between service providers and service consumers. And, one of the key ways of building trust is to agree on who gets what rights, and who takes on what responsibilities.
In the past 8 months, I’ve worked with a number of industry players to try to put into words some of the issues that can erode that necessary trust between providers and consumers in the cloud. That effort is part of Gartner’s Global IT Council where we not only looked at the issues, but actually sought to propose some basic approaches to addressing those issues.
The Gartner Global IT Council for Cloud Computing consists of CIOs and senior IT leaders of large global enterprises who work together to create actionable real-world recommendations and drive fundamental changes in the way the IT industry works.
The Council’s list of Rights and Responsibilities for Cloud Computing identifies some of the more interesting “basic truths” that should be self-evident but often are not. It seeks to establish a checklist of elements that should be addressed in any contractual agreement between cloud service providers and consumers. Once that checklist is in hand, a proper discussion of how to most effectively evaluate, select, and consume cloud services can be started. This is necessary even for simple cloud services, but is essential for the most mission critical of business processes supported by cloud computing.
The Councils preliminary findings and a detailed overview of their Charters can be found athttp://www.gartner.com/technology/research/reports/global-it-council.jsp. Join the discussion and help the list grow and change over time as the industry evolves the dialog.
Category: Applications Bill of Rights BPM Business Process Management Cartoon Cloud Emerging Phenomena Emerging Trends IT Governance Responsibilities Service Orientation Strategic Planning Vendor Contracts Tags: Bill of Rights, Cloud computing, Cloud Rights, Cloud Services, consumers, Gartner's Global IT Council On Cloud Computing, Global IT Council, providers, Responsibilities, Rights and responsibilities, trust
by Daryl Plummer | March 30, 2010 | 5 Comments
I posed an interesting question in our cloud council meeting last month. Since then, I have been trying to get more detail on the issue. The question was, when will cloud services providers begin to acquire bulk licenses of popular software products to deploy on behalf of cloud services consumers?
Check your license agreements before moving that software to the cloud.
So, the thought occurs to me that there might be some massive movement towards cloud providers stockpiling licenses of databases, middleware, tools, or even apps so that they can provide those software options to customers even when that software is not part of their line of business. I don’t mean companies that are in business to deliver those products as a service but rather companies that will deliver them as a value-added capabilities to make configuration, deployment, and licensing (and possibly even more critically – maintenance) easier for their potential consumer base.
Sure, there is “software as a service” out there, there is “platform as a service” out there, there is “database as a service” out there, but I am talking about availability of software to be managed and maintained by the consumer while using a provider’s “infrastructure as a service”, not the software delivered “as a service”.
So, if Amazon acquired bulk licenses of middleware products from Tibco or Software AG, or even IBM, would you buy them? Certainly if you would, it could open up a new line of revenue for software vendors that are constantly under pressure. And yes I know that the model of cloud moves away from just running software in the cloud and towards software delivered as a service. However, there are a host of products being run on premises right now that need to be migrated to virtual servers in the cloud or many companies just can’t act.
And what about those companies that want to buy licenses of new products without the hassle of having to start on premises at all? They can get the license for a cloud deployment from their software vendor at a price subject to their individual buying power; or, they could get it from a bulk supplier who can combine all its purchases into massive price pressure and pass the savings on.
So now I ask you these questions: Is it desirable or feasible that bulk software licenses from cloud providers will become an important line of revenue for software vendors? Is it at all feasible for general cloud infrastructure providers to also sell software licenses acquired in bulk? Or, is it more likely that the continued pressure on software licenses and maintenance will keep building until it all goes BOOM!?
Category: Cartoon Cloud Emerging Phenomena Emerging Trends Google Service Orientation SOA SOA Governance Social Computing Social Networking Social Sites Uncategorized Tags: Cloud, Cloud computing, Cloud Services
by Daryl Plummer | February 12, 2010 | 1 Comment
In the last three months, I seem to be spending a lot of time with legal staff at large enterprises talking about cloud computing. I knew the lawyers would wake and get in this game in a big way, but what has surprised me is the amount of glee these lawyers seem to have re the cloud model and how it affects their companies. I think they actually enjoy being the center of attention as usual on something that everyone keeps bringing up. Well, this time we’re really gonna’ need them.
Bill Baker did a quick piece on this last year in “Don’t Overlook Legal Issues in the Cloud”, as did Chris Edwards in “Uncovering the legal issues behind cloud computing”, and a host of others.
And yet, even with all those pieces out there, where is the firestorm that should be building? Most customers want to talk about public and private cloud but when I bring up the legal side I get blank stares half the time. Its like they know there is a party going on, but either they weren’t invited or they don’t want to hangout with Denny Crane and Alan Shore any longer than they have to.
The legal party is heating up around “Guarantees” – like what will, and what will not be guaranteed a consumer of cloud services by the provider?
- Will they guarantee where your data is?
- Will they guarantee that the regulations of your home area will be applied to their services delivered from another part of the world?
- Will they guarantee up-time, privacy, security, bandwidth, or anything having to do with living up to your expectations?
Denny Crane would probably just ignore those issues and bribe the judge whenever he was challenged. But back in the real world, those are still outstanding questions among many others that might relate to future legal action in the cloud.
But don’t worry, it may not be as gloomy as it might seem assuming you don’t like to party with those esteemed and educated jurist jockeys. Just keep in mind that, in many ways, the lawyers will be the ones who urge cloud providers to get off their collective “briefs” and start providing some of the guarantees Enterprises need from cloud services.
So, I recommend this – if your cloud planning meetings do not include legal staff, get them there now. If your legal staff is not rapidly coming up to speed on cloud computing issues, get them on the phone with me before breakfast. And, if you don’t think you need legal representation in cloud computing efforts, get ready to be deposed.
Category: BPM Business Process Management Cartoon Cloud Comic Emerging Phenomena Emerging Trends Google Music Service Orientation SOA SOA Governance Social Computing Social Networking Social Sites Uncategorized Tags: Cartoon, Cloud, Cloud Services, Comic, Enterprise, Infrastructure, Pay as you go, private cloud, Smarter Planet, SOA, Social, Social Networking, Trends