Startups like Cloud Compare, Cloud Nation and CompatibleOne are racing into the cloud services brokerage (CSB) and aggregator (CSA) markets. Will channel partners embrace their services?
Michael Dowling and Eamon Moore, co-founders of Cloud Compare -- an aspiring cloud services brokerage (CSB) in Europe.
When it comes to cloud services brokerages (CSBs), a growing list of companies want to define the market -- and dominate the market.
Although definitions vary, CSBs typically allow channel partners and/or customers to find, source and manage multiple cloud services from a single dashboard. CSBs may also offer consulting, migration and integration services.
Here They Come
In the past week, the following companies have contacted Talkin' Cloud, declaring their CSB expertise:
- Cloud Compare, which claims to be the first CSB in Ireland.
- Cloud Nation, which is associated with SMB Nation (the media company and conference host) and also partners with D&H.
- CompatibleOne, which claims to be "the open source cloud broker."
Dozens of additional players -- telcos, distributors, cloud integrators -- are making similar CSB moves. What's driving all this activity? The simple answer involves market growth coupled with market confusion:
- VARs are discovering traditional technologies like Microsoft Small Business Server are dying. They therefore need on-premise or cloud alternatives.
- Customers, meanwhile, are adopting cloud services at a rapid rate. But once you get to four or more cloud services, it can get very difficult for customers to manage the integration of such services, Gartner VP Tiffani Bova has frequently noted.
- And most channel partners don't have the time, resources or expertise to build and manage multiple cloud applications for customers.
That's where CSBs and aggregators enter the picture.
TechNavio predicts the global CSB will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 75.06 percent from 2012 to 2016. The big driver: Customers that want vendor management across multiple cloud services.
TechNavio suggests the key CSBs dominating the market include Capgemini SA, Dell, IBM, Jamcracker, and Liaison Technologies.
But I don't quite agree with that perspective. Those vendors offer CSB tools -- but aren't really CSBs themselves. For instance, Jamcracker's software allows telecom companies and IT distributors to offer cloud aggregation and cloud brokerage services. But that doesn't mean Jamcracker is an actual CSB. Rather, Jamcracker is a CSB enabler.
Other key players in the market include, according to TechNavio, include Origo Networks, SnapLogic, Besol Solutions, CommonIT, Parallels, SolveDirect, Standing Cloud, Amalto Technologies, Axeda, Cordys, E2open, GCommerce, and GXS Inc.
Of course, hot markets often attract so-called "pretenders" -- companies that have big ambitions but little expertise in the market. We've already seen quite a few aggregation services struggle to get off the ground or close completely.
So before you start using a CSB to launch and manage your customers in the cloud, be sure to ask about funding, example customers, SLAs and other variables that can make or break a CSB.
For a look at the growing list of established and aspiring CSBs in the market, visit http://www.talkincloud.com/csb.