I posted a vBlog related to cloud brokers, but I thought I'd put another post out with a bit more detailed thought. It can be tough to crush even a medium size blog post down to the size needed for a vBlog -- at least the way I talk.
Forrester recently released an analysis of the concept of a Cloud Broker. Although there was much to agree with, I actually view it a bit differently. Forrester’s view is too hardware centric for my taste. My view is that the various components of a cloud approach build upon top of each other as I’ve described before in previous blog posts.
The various market components can interact in different ways to provide value to the marketplace:
Businesses specialize at the intersection of these IT industry components:
The Cloud Broker as the Hub
Finally at the hub of these intersections is the cloud broker. This function may do all of the items previously mentioned or just perform 3rd party administration, ensuring that a unified solution meets the needs of the business.
Cloud brokers need to have expertise in a wide range of hardware capabilities, ranging from the servers through the desktop and mobile platforms – after all the computer you have with you all the time is likely a Smartphone.
They must also understand the analytics and user interface issues to weave together all these possibilities into a solution that is coherent and effective for the business. No one wants to be distracted by user interface or data inconsistencies. The elimination of latency through the use of automated workflow and techniques that allow people to focus on the anomalies and automate “normal” is key here as well.
There can be a range of capabilities in this cloud broker space ranging from the simple sourcing manager all the way though the business model integrator who deeply understands the business and technology objectives of the organization and is constantly on the lookout for technology solutions that disrupt the status quo. They need to be experts on the kinds of problems that usually hurt cloud deployments.
Some of the descriptions of the cloud broker function that are out there make it seem like an IT management function, but to me, its roots are deeper into the business needs and expectations than that.
What is common to this range of cloud broker is that the IT complexities of managing the workload and the vendors should be hidden from the end user – and to some extent the end business. After all, if they wanted to know these details and manipulate the controls, they should have someone on staff that is performing the function, instead of purchasing it as a service. Many CIOs are going to spend much of their future effort in the cloud broker function, among other things.
Although this cloud broker function may seem like a vision, there are a few organizations that HP supports today where this level of performance is expected and delivered. And it’s not going away anytime soon.
What are your thoughts on cloud brokers? Are you performing this role as part of your CIO duties? If not, do you foresee cloud broker duties in your future?