Host Service Providers – I’ll Have What They Are Having

I’ll Have What They Are Having

My last two CloudTweaks posts have focused on a food themed view of cloud computing. The initial post is about the similarities between making Bouillabaisse and cloud computing. The second post was about the are you sure button that comes from a pizza delivery person that knows you never order all the pizza’s with white sauce. At dinner the other night I was looking around the restaurant and realized I didn’t know what I wanted.

Certainly the restaurant chosen by my family has a number of exceptional dishes. I had eaten there before so I knew the team would bring something wonderful. I was struggling with what to order when it appeared to me. Well, the waiter appeared carrying a beautiful dish and I decided “I’ll have what they are having.” (It was food, by the way, not an obscure “When Harry Met Sally” reference.)

In the cloud world, you don’t always want what the person next to you is having. The primary difference being that I could see what the table next to me had ordered. I could smell the prepared food, and it was both well-presented and frankly smelled amazing. With cloud solutions, you have to be careful. It’s almost like cloud at time’s heads down the “Let’s Make A Deal” path rather than a fine dining experience. Do you want what is behind door number one or door number two?

I’ve advocated for some time that this is the market hole we need to fill. I’ve said before any number of times that the concept of an honest broker would well make what’s behind door number 1 smell and taste fantastic. Oh and, by the way, what’s behind door number 2 is also well prepared and tastes fantastic.

The problem today is twofold:

  • There are lots of brokers
  • There are lots of cloud Service Providers

Let’s for a moment take the NIST definition of broker (an aggregator of services). Based on that definition there are a lot of companies that have broker technologies today. A single portal with connections to Amazon, Microsoft Azure and Google represents an aggregator of services. But we are looking for a little more. In fact, what we want is a waiter walking by us with a dish we can see and well smell as well.

There are a lot of companies that provide cloud services. In fact, there are three tiers – traditional managed IT solutions (floor + your stuff as is no longer in your data center), managed cloud (VPC or virtual private cloud hosted by a partner) or the even broader public cloud offerings. Again the original goal here was to have a waiter walk by and let us see what our neighbors are having.

What can we do? This is an area where the concept of an expanded broker adds value. What is an expanded broker?

  • Aggregator of Services
  • Honest Broker (not a cloud service provider)
  • Relationships with all the major solutions
  • Understand of both security requirements and security implementations focused on specific industries

There are lots of cloud Service Providers to choose from. Each of them can tell you that their solution is the perfect fit for your organization. Your partnership with the expanded honest cloud broker is the advantage you have in this discussion going forward. The honest broker won’t try to sell you their hosted cloud service as they don’t have one. Instead, they will help you evaluate the CSP’s on the market to determine which one does have the dish you need.

In this model, you get not only the NIST defined aggregation of services but you also get a partner whose loyalty is with your organization. The Cloud Service Providers will work with this honest broker because in the end; they represent the best way for the CSP to show you what your neighbors are having without showing you more than you should see.

I’ll have what that organization is getting in the cloud please.

By Scott Andersen

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