Some cloud executives contend that this aspect of broker model has yet to fully emerge. "An intermediary or broker who can transfer workloads based on price arbitrage-we don't see that taking hold. I don't see clients interested in it," says Erik Sebesta, chief architect and technology officer at Cloud Technology Partners, a Boston-based consulting firm that helps customers design and build cloud solutions.
Sebesta also notes that arbitrage providers will need to be big players in order for enterprises to trust them in that role. Moreover, from a technology perspective, moving workloads around can prove challenging. "It's just hard to move a workload from one environment to another," Sebesta says. "It is not a quick or easy process, especially if you are dealing with complex, mission-critical applications."
Weinstein also notes the workload migration challenge, observing the lack of high-level interoperability among Infrastructure as a Service platforms. He believes interoperability will expand over time and a role for cloud service brokerages will exist in general arbitrage.
In August, consulting and technology company Infosys debuted its Cloud Ecosystem Hub, which provides an arbitrage-like function. The hub aims to provide a single view of what would otherwise be a fragmented enterprise ecosystem of private clouds, public clouds and on-premises systems, according to the company.
Vishnu Bhat, vice president and global head of Infosys cloud business unit, says the company has built connectors that link cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Salesforce into its hub. A smart brokerage feature helps determine the best cloud service for a given workload, taking into account such parameters as cost, regulatory compliance and technical compatibility, Baht explains.
Indeed, the cloud offers enterprises a new way to deliver solutions as well as a new option for rolling them out. However, the fundamentals of hiring a partner endure.
Montes says the cloud is governed by many of the same principles that a CTO or CIO would address in an on-premises scenario. The viability of vendors, contract management and security remain important considerations. "It's just that the context has changed and the potential payoff has changed-but one still has to think through all of these issues."