What is a cloud broker?

Broker on phone

Cloud computing remains popular among companies. Earlier this year, for the seventh time per year State of the Cloud Survey interviewing nearly 1,000 IT professionals about their use of cloud infrastructure, the latest cloud computing trends that have been identified, is that multi-cloud is a preferred strategy and that organizations use just under five clouds on average. They also found that a "significant waste of cloud spending makes optimizing costs the top initiative".

With a host of options for public cloud providers and multiple planning layers within each provider, in addition to hybrid cloud and private cloud options in the mix, it can become a minotaur maze to find the perfect mix of cloud providers for an organization. With so many choices it can easily change in a case of analysis paralysis & # 39; for an organization when it's time to choose a cloud provider. Moreover, the cloud providers are changing their range of plans, which increases the confusion as this becomes a landscape of changing sand.

What does a cloud broker do?

Because cloud computing is so essential for these companies, some turn to an external consultant for some expertise, known as a cloud broker. Just like in real estate, your agent offers the necessary expertise as they do day in day out, the cloud broker can help navigate through this rocky landscape. The cloud broker is a third party that is an intermediary between the company that wishes to purchase the cloud computing service and the cloud computing provider that sells the service. The services of a cloud broker are quite popular, according to a 2015 report on cloud services"The global Cloud Service Brokerage market is expected to grow from $ 5.24 billion in 2015 to $ 19.16 billion in 2020, with compound annual growth (CAGR) of 29.6% from 2015 to 2020."

Like other brokers, such as a stock broker, real estate agent or car broker, the cloud broker is an expert in the field of current cloud computing offers. In some cases, they serve as advisers to help a company and save valuable research time. The cloud broker first takes the time to understand the unique needs of the organization, including data requirements, workloads and budget, and can then help you choose the ideal cloud computing vendors to meet those needs. At the end of this process, the cloud broker provides the organization with a short list of suppliers that can meet their needs, after which the organization contacts the suppliers directly and concludes a service contract.

Use a cloud broker to negotiate

Although in some cases the cloud broker is used for this level of expertise, some organizations also use it for the negotiation process. Cloud sellers do not offer transparent prices on the websites and the exact cloud computing requirements of each organization are usually unique. An active cloud broker will also have a better feeling for the market & # 39; and what & # 39; the traffic will carry & # 39; for a cloud offer as they do this all the time, not to mention their ongoing relationships with the cloud vendors. Compare this with a financial employee of a company that only negotiates a contract for cloud computing once every few years, or even worse, has never done so.

For organizations with less experience in negotiating a cloud computing contract, they should consider using the negotiation services of a cloud broker. With the rights to negotiate a cloud computing contract, the cloud broker can divide the cloud computing needs of the organization among multiple cloud computing vendors, benefit from the best services and get a favorable deal with each. This approach is known as multicloud and although there are several benefitsit can be complicated to configure, especially during initial installation. Cloud brokers who work in the field of multicloud sometimes go to the term cloud aggregator and can be configured by the cloud broker for a user interface that simplifies the multiple cloud providers to make them look like only one, which is a concept known like meta-cloud.

Letting the cloud broker negotiate the contracts is often felt to be less risky for the company, because the cloud broker can handle the amount of cloud computing for the need & # 39; at right size & # 39; and at an acceptable price. The concern, however, comes with how the cloud broker is paid, how independent they are when they have a permanent relationship with a limited number of cloud computing vendors, and whether they are paid on a commission basis by the vendors. Cloud brokers, however, often bring more to the table in the form of extra services offered than they are merely a simple reseller of the service of a cloud computing provider.

Cloud computing flow chart

Additional roles from a cloud broker

Another role of cloud brokering is, for example, that of the cloud integrator. This additional role of the cloud broker is to combine the public and private cloud environments of the organization, via cloud orchestration, and to automate workflows in these diverse environments. They can also use their cloude expertise to help with the migration of data between public and private clouds.

Yet another role of the cloud broker is as the cloud-adjuster, which is also referred to by the term white label cloud service. The cloud broker goes beyond the intermediary role and uses his experience with cloud computing to adapt an existing cloud service to the special needs of the company. This can be done to increase the value of the cloud computing application, to better integrate it and to comply with regulations. A related term is that of the cloud enabler, which can help manage the lifecycle of data, including moving the data from the organization to the cloud, as well as the encoding of data.

With the increasing awareness of cloud computing for a company and the nuanced complexity that has arisen, it makes sense to look at the services of this newly created profession, the cloud broker. Although relatively new on the spot, it has already developed several subspecializations that confirm what a specific niche in this area of ​​computing is already.