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Cloud Computing

Lee Myall (Global) - Cloud Computing: Broker or Bust?

Cloud computing has simplified IT purchasing.  It has made previous technology choices affordable and offered a new wave of flexibility to organisations.  In theory, it is simple. However, the market has over complicated the process of IT change and cloud definitions have been spouted in their droves. This very confusion has led to the need for a cloud ‘broker’; an unbiased intermediary between the cloud provider and the end user, who can provide advice on the integration method that suits their needs. Without this unbiased recommendation to assure IT managers that they will reap the promised benefits of cloud computing, organisations can get stuck in a quandary.

On one hand, cloud computing has shown enterprises that ICT purchasing has been simplified to such a degree that even their mum could buy it. It has transformed a complex IT supply chain into a few clicks by offering applications and infrastructure through a web enabled ‘cloud store’.  Now organisations no longer needed to be tied into five year technology choices, forcing them to stick to legacy decisions. In many ways, risk and complexity had been reduced.

Yet, on the other hand, organisations have still been left with the issue of who to trust with their cloud needs. This is where the cloud broker can bring value - in helping organisations understand what SLAs to look for, what performance indicators to measure a cloud provider by, whether they should expect charges for data transfer from one location to another, and what the benefits of working with one cloud footprint over another are. Geographical footprint, location of data centres, network ownership and usability of their cloud store are all important considerations.

Whether a hybrid, private or public cloud is needed will depend on a business’ requirements. A cloud broker can really add clarity to help make these decisions. And there are plenty of other avenues that a cloud broker could reach into. It is yet to be seen whether a cloud broker’s remit will stretch to becoming a prime contractor, or delivering full wrap SLAs. We may see them start to provide Network Operations Centre services, taking responsibility for the customer’s first call and managing the various vendors to deliver a resolution. Only the future will tell.

The ‘cloud broker’ will come in many guises – an aggregator, integrator or customiser (as Gartner puts it). Who steals the crown in the cloud broker race remains to be seen, but what is clear is that the cloud broker mantle will get bigger.

By Lee Myall, UK Director at Interoute

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