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.