At HostingCon, I attended a session entitled “How Not Just to Survive but Thrive in the Evolving Hosting Marketplace in Cloudy World.” One of the speakers mentioned the projected growth of a new line of business in the future, Cloud Services Brokerages – that is, from my understanding, companies who are essentially Cloud service aggregators. And sure enough, if you do look on the 2011 Gartner Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, you will see Cloud Services Brokerages making its way up the Hype curve toward the Hype peak and projected to mature in 5-10 years.
My initial thought about this new Cloud business sector immediately headed to the past. Remember when all the excitement was around Application Service Providers (ASP) ? Back then with so many ASPs coming into the market, there was the rise of ASP aggregators - those companies that aggregated different hosted application services together in one spot. ASP aggregators were all the rage - fresh with loads of venture capital funding and commanding high valuation. But what happened to them? They failed.
It would seem that the cycle is beginning again – this time with a new Cloud umbrella. With the splintering of Cloud Computing into 30 or so different categories as depicted in the 2011 Gartner Hype Cycle, and with each category most likely being filled by many players - I am sure we will see the rise of hype around Cloud Services Brokerages - those companies that will claim to make Cloud adoption easy by being a one stop shop for Cloud services.
For me, I don’t think it’s good enough just to be a “one-stop shopping” aggregator. Rather, the business needs to add value on top of all their partnerships.
In the first HostingCon keynote entitled, “Situation Normal, Everything Must Change”, Simon Wardley stressed the importance of ecosystems. In my opinion, if a cloud business is going to be an aggregator/broker, the only path is to make it easier to plug into a specific ecosystem – to be an ecosystem enabler (hey, isn’t that a niche play?).
We shall see how these Cloud Services Brokerages fare. With technology pushing forward at an ever accelerating pace, the next 5 years is going to be exciting.
VP Marketing and Business Development