Gartner Predicts Rise of -Cloud Service Brokerages'

As cloud computing environments become more commonplace and complex, users will have a difficult time integrating the various cloud services and ensuring their integrity, according to Gartner. That will give rise to what Gartner is calling "cloud service brokerages," which will essentially negotiate the relationship between the end users and providers and make it easier for businesses to manage their cloud services.

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 Gartner is calling "cloud service brokerages," 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.

Gartner issued a statement on the eventual rise of cloud brokerages July 9. The report is part of a larger document on cloud computing that Gartner released June 4.

"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 (cloud service brokerages) 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 e-mail 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 in a statement. "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 in March forecasted that worldwide cloud services revenue will surpass $56.3 billion in 2009, which is a 21.3 percent increase over the $46.4 billion generated last year. The market could reach $150.1 billion in 2013, Gartner said.