How To Be A Great Cloud Services Broker In 3 Easy Steps
Those who move into cloud computing first need to understand how all of their services will be discovered, transformed, exposed, and then managed.
While some enterprises leverage cloud services, such as storage and compute services from outside of the company, many also expose or create their own cloud services. These services must be cataloged, protected, governed, and managed in such a way that they are easily found and leveraged, and can then become an ongoing part of an application.
While approaches to cloud service portfolio management can differ from implementation to implementation, there are some emerging patterns and best practices. We’ve put together a list of 3 primary steps you should consider.
Step 1: Create a cloud services catalog
The services catalog provides a few benefits, including the ability to track cloud services that are exposed or brokered inside the company. Or, to those outside of the company, such as customers, suppliers, or partners who also require access to the services.
These business-related services may include inventory, or infrastructure services, such as spinning up a new virtual machine. These are typically accessed via APIs (which are usually RESTful Web services) that can be invoked by anyone authorized to see and leverage the cloud service.
When creating this catalog enterprises should consider automation, including the ability to leverage a secure portal where administrators, developers, or business users are able to request new IT services, as well as manage specific cloud and IT resources. What’s more, enterprises should deploy automation to ensure compliance with business policies, as well as managing resources such as infrastructure and applications.
Thus, the cloud services catalog becomes the primary location for service information, which is who owns the services, what it does, authorization rules, usage policies, etc. It becomes the foundation to manage cloud services because it’s a single-point-of-truth for your cloud services.
Step 2: Use the right technology to create a service management and service accounting infrastructure
The second part of the journey is to create the proper cloud services management infrastructure. This typically means leveraging some applications, such as cloud management platforms (CMPs), that provide you with the ability to provision and manage services in the cloud services catalog.
Step 3: Define cloud services security and governance
It is imperative to place the right security infrastructure around your services so they are not leveraged or abused by the wrong parties. This means you need the ability to authenticate cloud services users, inside or outside of the company. Moreover, you need the ability to leverage the right level of encryption, as well as meet your industry’s existing rules and regulations.
Finally, there needs to be a good service governance infrastructure, which is typically linked with security. This allows the cloud services manager to place policies around the use of services, as well as track services, including their use in other systems. Cloud automation systems help make this possible by providing a cloud services manager with the tools to define and implement policies to control access, and monitor use of cloud and IT resources.
The role of the cloud services broker is one that will be here for a long time. While traditional clouds are what we think about for production, use, and management of cloud services, the management of more and more cloud services becomes the role of enterprise IT.
David S. Linthicum is an IT industry thought leader, a frequent public speaker at enterprise conferences such as Interop 2013 where he was the Cloud Track Chair, and he’s the author of 13 IT books including “Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise.”
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