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Managed Application Service Providers emerge as Cloud Service Brokers

By Mark Clayman, COO, TriCore Solutions, special to Network World
January 29, 2014 01:46 PM ET

Network World - This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.

Now that enterprises are beginning to deploy a broad range of cloud services to meet varying needs, it is becoming apparent there is a significant amount of work associated with using the services that was not previously understood. Cloud integration, customization and management have become complex, reducing some of the benefits of using cloud infrastructure. But more importantly, the complexity prevents organizations from exploring the opportunities to integrate various cloud services and associated features. 

Cloud computing service providers specializing in infrastructure are not necessarily the best organizations to help enterprises simplify this complexity and extend the value of cloud services. Gartner recently recognized an emerging player in the cloud ecosystem and coined the term Cloud Services Broker (CSB). Gartner defines a CSB as a company or entity that adds value to one or more cloud services and identified three key roles that a broker plays in helping cloud providers deliver services to customers:

  1. Aggregation: A cloud broker bundles many individual services and presents them as a unified service ensuring interoperability. For example, cloud brokers can offer a variety of security services from different vendors for a complete solution.
  2. Integration: An enterprise will often rely on a cloud broker to integrate multiple services to achieve new features and functionality. A cloud broker can help move data into the cloud and integrate the customer's network with the provider's network as well as other partner networks.
  3. Customization: A cloud broker often customizes cloud services for individual customers as well as customizes the deployment of cloud-based applications.

Managed application service providers (MSP) have been aggregating, integrating, customizing, deploying and managing infrastructure and application services for years without the benefits of a cloud-based infrastructure and the integration capabilities that are now available. MSPs are poised to become critical players in the cloud ecosystem.

+ ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD Is the cloud ready for mission critical apps? +

MSPs are becoming cloud service brokers, leveraging their deep experience in managing enterprise applications, complex integrations and business workflows. Now that cloud computing technology has evolved, the infrastructure portion of the solution has become a utility. The hard part and where the managed application service provider’s true expertise comes into play is with the aggregation, integration, deployment and management of multiple cloud-based applications to deliver a fully managed enterprise application solution.

Many initially believed that cloud computing would put managed service providers out of business. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are 11 reasons why enterprises should consider using a managed application service provider for their next enterprise application deployment in the cloud.

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