By John Dixon, Consulting Architect, LogicsOne
Recently GreenPages and our partner Gravitant hosted a webinar on Cloud Service Broker technology. Senior Analyst Dave Bartoletti gave a preface to the webinar with Forrester’s view on cloud computing and emerging technology. In this post we’ll give some perspective on highlights from the webinar. In case you missed it, you can also watch a replay of the webinar here: http://bit.ly/12yKJrI
Ben Tao, Director of Marketing for Gravitant, kicks off the discussion by describing the traditional data center sourcing model. Two key points here:
- Sourcing decisions, largely based on hardware selection, are separated by years
- In a cloud world, sourcing decisions can be separated by months or even weeks
The end result is that cloud computing can drive the benefit of a multi-sourcing model for IT, where sourcing decisions are made in close proximity to the use of services. This has the potential of enabling organizations to adjust their sourcing decisions more often to best suit the needs of their applications.
Next, Dave Bartoletti describes the state of cloud computing and the requirements for hybrid cloud management. The core of Dave’s message is that the use of cloud computing is on the rise, and that cloud is being leveraged for more and more complex applications – including those with sensitive data.
Dave’s presentation is based on the statement, “what IT must do to deliver on the hybrid cloud promise…”
Some key points here:
- Cloud is about IT services first, infrastructure second
- You won’t own the infrastructure, but you’ll own the service definitions; take control of your own service catalog
- The cloud broker is at the center of the SaaS provider, cloud VAR, and cloud integrator
- Cloud brokers can accelerate the cloud application lifecycle
Dave does an excellent job of explaining the things that IT must do in order to deliver on the hybrid cloud promise. Often, conversations on cloud computing are purely about technology, but I think there’s much more at stake. For example, Dave’s first two points above really resonate with me. You can also read “cloud computing” as ITIL-style sourcing. Cloud computing puts service management back in focus. “Cloud is about IT services first, infrastructure second,” and “You won’t own the infrastructure […]” also suggests that cloud computing may influence a shift in the makeup of corporate IT departments – fewer core technologists and more “T-shaped” individuals. So called T-shaped individuals have knowledge and experience with a broad set of technologies (the top of the “T”), but have depth in one or more areas like programming, Linux, or storage area networking. My prediction is that there will still be a need for core technologists; but that some of them may move into roles to do things like define customer-facing IT services. For this reason, our CMaaS product also includes optional services to deal with this type of workforce transformation. This is an example of a non-technical item that must be made when considering cloud computing. Do you agree? Do you have other non-technical considerations for cloud computing?
Chris Ward, CTO of LogicsOne, then dives in to the functionality of the Cloud Management as a Service, or CMaaS offering. The GreenPages CMaaS product implements some key features that can be used to help customers advance to the lofty points that Dave suggests in his presentation. CMaaS includes a cloud brokerage component and a multi-cloud monitoring and management component. Chris details some main features from the brokerage tool, which are designed to address the key points that Dave brought up:
- Collaborative Design
- Customizable Service Catalog
- Consistent Access for Monitoring and Management
- Consolidated Billing Amongst Providers
- Reporting and Decision Support
Chris then gives an example from the State of Texas and the benefits that they realized from using cloud through a broker. Essentially, with the growing popularity of e-voting and the use of the internet as an information resource on candidates and issues, the state knew the demand for IT resources would skyrocket on election day. Instead of throwing away money to buy extra infrastructure to satisfy a temporary surge in demand, Texas utilized cloud brokerage to seamlessly provision IT resources in real time from multiple public cloud sources to meet the variability in demand.
All in all, the 60-minute webinar is time well spent and gives clients some guidance to think about cloud computing in the context of a service broker.