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A Cloud Broker is a broker is a broker …

November 13, 2014

Isn’t is fascinating how creative our industry is? There are so many definitions and interpretations of a single term that everybody can be anything nowadays. I picked the cloud broker term as an example.

Sure there are definitions out there, e.g. by NIST. But as with cloud computing definitions themselves companies tend to create there own definitions. Sometimes because they have a different view or sometimes to jump on a trend by using the same name. The result though is the same:


it never ends

So what can a Cloud Broker be?

  • It can be an Cloud Automation Tool, e.g. T-Systems Cloud Broker or Dell Cloud Manager
  • It can be a Consultant that helps the customer to sort out cloud offers, e.g. Cloud Sherpas
  • A local software that helps to manage clouds, quite undefined and I do lack a good example

Especially the latter category proves to be worng labeling rather than a helpful approach. The terminology we use creates expectations. And we should strive to fulfill these or at least clarify them right from the start.

One of the expectations that comes with the term Cloud Broker is a vendor agnostic approach, at least for me. A Broker must support different cloud providers and not favor one over the other but rather choose the best solution for any requirement. This brings us to the next critical area. Can a cloud broker be a reseller or should it be an independent platform? The opinions on this are a broadly distributed. I believe from a customer perspective a truly vendor agnostic approach means no reselling but I have also seen customer wanting both.


This brings me to a closure of today’s post. As a customer ask and ask until you are really sure what is in it beyond the label. As a provider try to be precise. I do know that sometimes even the established labels are kind of confusing, think iPaaS. Only communications can help.

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