Gartner Predicts Rise of Cloud Integration Services

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Difficulty integrating cloud services and ensuring their integrity will give rise to what Gartner is calling “cloud service brokerages”

As the use of cloud computing grows and the model becomes more complex, end users are going to need help integrating the various combinations of services, according to research firm Gartner.

The need will give rise to what the analyst firm is calling “cloud service brokerages” (CSBs), or third parties whose job it will be to negotiate the relationships between the cloud service consumer and cloud service provider, including integrating the various services that will make up a user’s cloud environment.

“The future of cloud computing will be permeated with the notion of brokers negotiating relationships between providers of cloud services and the service customers,” Gartner analyst, L. Frank Kenney said in a statement. “In this context, a broker might be software, appliances, platforms or suites of technologies that enhance the base services available through the cloud. Enhancement will include managing access to these services, providing greater security or even creating completely new services.”

Gartner analysts see three different types of CSBs arising, with the first being a cloud service intermediation broker. These brokers will add value on top of the services being delivered, with those services including identity management and access management. Users will get such intermediation services through service providers such as AT&T, Verizon, Telestra or Virgin Media, according to Gartner.
The brokers and their products will be found in the cloud at the service provider’s location, at the user’s location or in the cloud as a service.

Aggregation brokers will be used to combine multiple services into one or more new services, taking the burden of data integration, process integrity or intermediation off the end user, according to Gartner. The aggregation broker will ensure the integration, movement and security of the data between the user and providers. These brokers will live primarily in the cloud, the analysts said.
The services that aggregation brokerages offer will be fixed, with little or no changes.

Finally, cloud service arbitrage will be similar to cloud service aggregation, except that the services being aggregated won’t be fixed. That flexibility will be important, Gartner analysts said, doing such chores as providing multiple email services through one service provider or providing a credit-scoring service that checks multiple scoring agencies, then selects the best score, they said.

“What sits between you and the cloud will become a critical success factor in cloud computing as cloud services multiply and expand faster than the ability of cloud consumers to manage or govern them in use,” Gartner analyst, Daryl Plummer said. “The growth of service brokerage businesses will increase the ability of cloud consumers to use services in a trustworthy manner. Cloud service providers must begin to partner with cloud brokerages to ensure that they can deliver the services they promote.”

Gartner forecast in March that worldwide cloud services revenue will surpass $56.3 billion (£34.8 billion) in 2009, which is a 21.3 percent increase over the $46.4 billion (£28.6 billion) generated last year. The market could reach $150.1 billion (£92.6 billion) in 2013, the analyst added.

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