1 Chapter 1 Defining Cloud Services Brokerage In This Chapter Recognizing the cloud computing trend Going beyond B2B integration with enterprise application integration in the cloud Understanding what cloud services brokerage (CSB) is about Most people think of puffy, cotton ball-like fair weather cumulus clouds when talking about clouds in general and metaphorically expect that same fair weather experience when talking about cloud computing. But like clouds in nature, not all cloud services and cloud services providers are the same. For example, the cumulonimbus is an awesome and powerful cloud, capable of producing mighty thunderstorms and often extending into the stratosphere with a majestic anvil plume. It can also launch golf ball-sized hail stones many miles and unleash a maelstrom of deadly tornados. And a stratus cloud can immerse an entire city in a dense fog for days. A cloud services broker, like your favorite TV meteorologist, can help your business make sense of the different clouds and cloud systems and prepare appropriately for a rainy day. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL This chapter delves into the growing cloud computing trend, and what cloud services brokerage is and what it isn t. The Cloud Goes Mainstream For years network architects have used clouds in network diagrams to depict wide area networks (WAN) and the Internet.
2 4 Cloud Services Brokerage For Dummies, Liaison Edition The cloud dynamic, nebulous, and at times unstable proved to be a particularly apt symbol to represent the boundless complexities of the Internet. An architect could focus on the minute details of a local area network (LAN) and simply drop in a few communications links depicted by lightning bolts to connect an enterprise to the Internet! Today, the cloud has become part of our modern lexicon, with major technology companies like Apple, Google, IBM, and Microsoft advertising cloud services during our favorite prime time TV shows and beckoning us to the cloud! In fact, many consumers are already using the cloud to store their photos and music, or to back up their home computer files. Likewise, many businesses are increasingly turning to thirdparty cloud services providers to host various back-office systems and B2B (business-to-business, for example, partner and supplier management) processes, such as their customer relationship management (CRM) databases and applications. Thus, the cloud now represents much more than a WAN or the Internet it provides services that include systems, data, and applications that were once traditionally located onpremises, inside the enterprise firewall. Cloud computing is fast becoming the wave of the future for both home and business computing with widespread adoption of a few high-profile cloud services. Because of this growing acceptance, we can expect an explosion of diverse cloud services providers in the coming years. These providers will rise up to meet the demand of organizations ready to embrace cloud computing technology more fully and outsource many facets of their business to the cloud. Be aware, however, that expanding the use of cloud services for both your back-office systems and B2B processes requires a high level of coordination and integration. It s one thing for these different services to exist as independent islands that never need to interconnect, or as loosely connected point-topoint interfaces. That s easy to do. However, when you outsource interdependent business processes to multiple cloud services providers, it becomes very complex, very quickly. That can mean adding staff and resources whether it s for writing code or just managing the integration process which can negate many of the benefits of cloud computing.
3 Chapter 1: Defining Cloud Services Brokerage 5 Back-office systems and B2B processes both on-premise and in the cloud have interdependencies. Business process efficiencies can be tuned, and valuable information can be obtained by joining these disparate systems across an organization s technical landscape. This level of integration adds power and creates competitive advantage for businesses that can harness it. But you need an integration specialist or cloud services broker with experience integrating across the various layers to avoid the point-to-point conundrum of integrating traditional, on-premise, back-office systems and B2B processes and to help optimize and simplify these systems and processes. Social networking, cloud services, and mobile touch points have turned business-to-consumer (B2C) services and applications on their ear. The increase in B2C activity will result in companies upgrading their on-premise and cloud-based B2B platforms to meet the challenge of real-time processing, from consumers to the back-end systems and back again. Managing Data in the Cloud Cloud-based technology provides leverage, scalability, and technology-refresh intervals that simply cannot be matched with traditional software models. Cloud technology is the means to an end not the primary focus of the service. Cloud computing provides scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities delivered as a service to external customers using Internet technologies. Cloud technology supports three specific layers of service that build upon each other (see Figure 1-1), defined by Gartner, Inc., as follows: Software as a Service (SaaS). This includes the applications such as dashboards and charting programs that help visualize services provided in the cloud. Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Integration Platform as a Service (ipaas). This layer incorporates the tools, capabilities, and services that help solve problems. Components of PaaS help take client data and transform it into useful and usable information. Although less familiar to most people, PaaS is critical to any successful interaction with the cloud.
4 6 Cloud Services Brokerage For Dummies, Liaison Edition ipaas is an integration specialty that involves the ability to perform integration in the cloud. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Anything-as-a-Service Figure 1-1: SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and anything in the cloud. A cloud services brokerage model provides the flexible technical infrastructure and domain expertise needed to define your unique business service and process requirements. Whether you are evaluating IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS, cloud-based data services and solutions offer the freedom and flexibility of the cloud while leveraging the data models you currently have in place. Benefits of cloud-based data services include Data harmonization and agility. Enable organizations to replicate, cleanse, enrich, and synchronize their external application data seamlessly and securely with their onpremise enterprise business applications and databases, and to realize the benefits of analytics/business intelligence/informatics with data that is clean and understood. Predictable anytime, anywhere access to IT resources. Take data integration, transformation, management, and security capabilities out of their physical silos and make them readily available for whenever and wherever you need them. Flexible scaling of resources. As your business changes, so do your data needs. Scale your data solution investments on-demand for maximum resource optimization.
5 Chapter 1: Defining Cloud Services Brokerage 7 Rapid, request-driven provisioning. Ramp up cloudbased services with a few mouse clicks or a phone call. Lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Expedite delivery of your complex data projects while minimizing resources and costs. What CSB Is With the advent of cloud computing, a new model of integration has emerged the cloud services brokerage. Every company that adopts a broad cloud computing strategy will encounter, and likely engage, multiple third-party cloud services providers. The published APIs (application programming interfaces) that enable organizations to interact with the various cloud services providers can be very complex. A cloud services broker buffers your organization from the technical details of interacting with these clouds. By consolidating (or brokering) multiple cloud services into a single connection, a cloud services broker helps to simplify and leverage cloud services and can aggregate, normalize, customize, and enhance business information in the cloud. Cloud computing overall, and cloud services brokerage in particular, is a high-impact trend that is expected to dramatically affect the entire $865 million IT services industry. The cloud services broker role is rapidly being incorporated into IT services including consulting and system integration, application services, business process outsourcing and utility (BPO/BPU), and B2B commerce. The U.S. Department of Commerce s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines a cloud broker as an entity that manages the use, performance, and delivery of cloud services and negotiates relationships between cloud providers and cloud consumers. NIST identifies three categories of services provided by cloud brokers, including Service intermediation. Providing value-added services or improving a capability such as managing access to the cloud, performance reporting, or security. Service aggregation. Combining and integrating multiple services (for example, by providing data integration or securely moving data between multiple cloud providers).
6 8 Cloud Services Brokerage For Dummies, Liaison Edition Service arbitrage. Similar to service aggregation, but the cloud services are not fixed (for example, checking multiple cloud services for competitive shipping rates or providing access to multiple services). Gartner defines the cloud services broker role as consolidating all third-party external technical and commercial interfaces into one on behalf of cloud services consumers. What CSB Isn t It is important to remember that a cloud services broker is not a cloud services provider and is not part of the traditional cloud hosting model for services. A cloud services broker doesn t actually host any applications for a business or provide access to specific applications. A cloud services broker doesn t sell cloud services of his own or on behalf of a cloud services provider. However, a cloud services broker can help you find different cloud services providers to meet your various business needs and negotiate services with those providers. Recognizing a cloud services broker Gartner has defined several characteristics that identify a cloud services broker, including the following. A cloud services broker: Has a direct contractual relationship with service consumers May or may not have a contractual relationship with service providers Brokers at least one cloud service Adds non-trivial value on top of original service Retains and leverages intellectual property to avoid one-off solutions Brokers one service to many customers, many services to one customer, or many services to many customers