Ready for a cloud computing brokerage?

Summary:With cloud computing providers expected to grow exponentially there may be a need for a brokerage that allows IT buyers to efficiently procure services. Enter the cloud computing brokerage, an idea proposed by research firm Gartner.

With cloud computing providers expected to grow exponentially there may be a need for a brokerage that allows IT buyers to efficiently procure services. Enter the cloud computing brokerage, an idea proposed by research firm Gartner.

At its Symposium powwow in Orlando, Gartner analyst Daryl Plummer walked folks through the cloud broker concept. This idea has been floated for a few days during the conference. The concept goes like this: Some entity needs to act as a broker as businesses work various cloud resources whether it be Amazon Web Services or Rackspace or Salesforce.com or any other vendor.

Gartner is so sure of this brokerage concept that it claims that through 2015 cloud service brokers will be the largest revenue growth opportunity. The message: Brokerages are needed so cloud computing will flourish so tech titans need to either become a broker or enable one.

So what's a cloud broker? Essentially it's a value added player that sits on top of all other cloud providers. The broker doesn't have to provide cloud services, but does need to facilitate transactions. This broker would handle behind-the-scenes tasks, add value and reduce risk (one key obstacle to cloud adoption). Meanwhile, this cloud broker would be your service level agreement model.

A few key points about why a cloud broker makes sense:

  • Intermediaries exist in consumer relationships with technology.
  • Intermediaries will be necessary as enterprises procure cloud services.
  • Many industries use brokerages every day in financial services, travel and other verticals.
  • Brokers act on behalf of the consumer, in this case the IT buyer.

Plummer then goes out on a limb and argues that there will be multiple cloud brokers and 20 percent of cloud services will be consumed via a broker. That's a pretty heady claim for a concept that's basically still on the white board.

Trust will also be an issue, which is why you can expect systems integrators, telecom carriers and outsources as being brokerage players. A Gartner survey showed that more than 63 percent of respondents would trust a systems integrator as a broker. Telecom carriers and outsourcers were No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

Today the market is still very early. Here's Gartner's scorecard of nascent cloud broker services.

Topics: Servers, Cloud, CXO, Hardware, IT Priorities, Virtualization

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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