- Cloud Broker: Overview
- Cloud Broker: Facts and Information
- Cloud Broker: Tutorial and Course
- Cloud Broker: References
Cloud Broker: Overview
Cloud Broker: Facts and Information
You may have known numerous cloud deployment models such as public and private, but hybrid clouds and cloud brokering is increasing in popularity and will be a dominant aspect in the next generation of cloud computing. In the Tutorial and Course for Cloud Broker, we will detail and analyze hybrid clouds and cloud management platforms as well as the newer term, cloud broker, and its role. The technologies and concepts behind hybrid cloud and cloud brokering did not exist at the inception of cloud computing. We will discuss the definition, purpose, and roles of a cloud broker and the differences between hybrid cloud and brokering.
Cloud Broker: Tutorial and Course
Cloud brokering refers to an organization that serves as a centralized coordinator of cloud services for other organizations, departments, or subagencies. Many IT departments already serve as an IT broker today - providing IT services for their overall organization or procuring or outsourcing the required services to a third party to meet the needs of internal customers within the enterprise organization. A cloud broker is a similar role, taking requirements or orders via an online service catalog and then determining which of multiple cloud providers will receive the provisioning request.
Up till now, there are no public cloud broker service providers in the industry. Cloud brokering is not something you can purchase from a public cloud provider. Brokering is normally deployed by installing a cloud management system (with specialized brokering capabilities) within an enterprise datacenter or leased facility. There are some specialized systems integrators that concentrate on cloud brokering that are planning to offer a managed community cloud broker service; however, the level of complexity and customization required per tenant or customer is very challenging. This is why there are no "public" cloud broker service providers in the industry.
The National Institute for 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." The "entity" in this definition refers to you as an IT organization serving in the broker role for the rest of your users or as a commercial cloud broker which, there really are none in the industry at this time.
Following is a summary of the six specific areas in which the cloud broker plays an important role:
- Service Catalog: Providing a consolidated service catalog for customer ordering of all downstream cloud provider Anything as a Service (XaaS) offerings.
- Workflow: Facilitating ordering processes such as approvals and notifications within consumer organizations;
- Provisioning Application Programming Interfaces (APIs): Managing service provisioning by using API calls to downstream cloud providers.
- Resource Management: Managing all service costs, resource metering, billing or chargeback—consolidated across all cloud providers.
- Tracking Status: Tracking completion and success of provisioning and availability of services by using APIs with each cloud provider.
- Reporting: Collecting and aggregating all system statuses, statistics, and service-level agreement (SLA) dashboards from downstream XaaS cloud providers into a centralized portal hosted by the broker.
Although NIST defines two separate roles for broker - business and technical (NIST Special Publication 500-299). Although the broker industry is very new, early adopters and broker providers are finding that a combined broker role is more effective, offers better multiprovider integration, and provides a more unified customer experience.
In a cloud broker environment, the simplified layers of cloud management, become more complex because there is now the expectation of supporting one or more downstream cloud service providers. The cloud broker performs the functions within the boxes at the top and bottom, whereas one or more downstream service providers performs the functions contained in the box in the middle. The box on the bottom, operations and management, is really an encompassing function also performed by the cloud broker.