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Understanding the cloud service broker model

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cloud aggregator

A cloud aggregator is a type of cloud broker that packages and integrates multiple cloud computing services into one or more composite services.

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Understanding the cloud service broker model

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A cloud aggregator is a type of cloud broker that packages and integrates multiple cloud computing services into one or more composite services. 

This integration, which includes services from multiple cloud providers, is typically more cost-effective to the customer than purchasing each service separately.  A cloud aggregator, in turn, may benefit from charging a premium for providing more than a straightforward resale agreement.  

The terms "cloud aggregator" and "cloud broker" are sometimes used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference. A cloud broker's role is more similar to that of a consultant and intermediary between buyers and sellers, whereas a cloud aggregator takes that one step forward and is more analogous to a systems integrator -- bundling and assembling third-party and/or in-house cloud services into proprietary offerings.     

The cloud aggregator's business model is still evolving. Some may only offer a finite number of fixed packages, whereas others may incrementally create new bundles by mixing and matching features from existing services. An example of a budle that a cloud aggregator might offer would be Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).  By definition, UC is composed of several technologies. A cloud aggregator may combine and integrate cloud-based voice, messaging, rich presence technology and conferencing services from multiple UC vendors into one UCaaS package.

The success of a cloud aggregator is partly dependent on the cloud federation capabilities of the providers whose services the aggregator resells. Ideally, the federation is transparent to the customer, who consumes the aggregated services from one logical user interface. If cloud providers are poorly federated, the cloud aggregator may have to work harder to integrate the services for customers and for its own operational support system  (OSS) architecture.

This was first published in December 2011

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Understanding the cloud service broker model

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