Rewind to 2012 or so. At the time, I was starting to track the emerging cloud services brokerage (CSB) market. In some circles, many folks thought VARs, MSPs and perhaps IT distributors would potentially evolve into CSBs.
But what exactly are CSBs -- and what happened to early movers -- the market pioneers?
First, you've got to understand what a CSB is (or was). Generally speaking, Gartner says a cloud services brokerage offers one to three capabilities -- such as:
- Cloud Service Intermediation, such as identity or access management capabilities.
- Cloud Service Aggregation, bringing together multiple services in a secure, interoperable way.
- Cloud Service Arbitrage, offering customers a list of multiple services from which they can select.
Cloud Services Brokerages (aka Cloud Brokers) List
By late 2012, I was tracking two dozen or so CSBs. Here's a look back at CSBs I was watching at the time... and how they position themselves in 2016 -- if they even exist as businesses anymore...
The company continues to offer integration services for Google Apps, Salesforce.com WorkDay and more. Back in 2012, the company descriptor mentioned brokerage capabilities. Today, the word is no longer used. Instead, the company evangelizes crowdsourcing and pre-built solution accelerators.
2. Avnet Cloud Marketplace:
The value-added distributor used the brokerage term here and there back in the day. But take a closer look today and the SEO screams out something more. As Avnet puts it: The company's cloud marketplace is "more than just a brokerage platform."
3. AWS Marketplace:
Still around but rarely called an "aggregator" these days.
4. BlueWolf (acquired):
Known as a cloud aggregator in 2012, acquired by IBM in 2016 mainly for its Salesforce.com consulting services.
5. Cloud Compare:
Claimed to be Ireland's first CSB in 2012 or so. We tried to check in with the company but can't find any updates.
Still positioning itself as a cloud aggregator as of late 2015, though we haven't seen any 2016 updates. CloudMore offers these 31 reasons for cloud aggregation in the IT channel
7. Cloud Nation (acquired):
Originally a cloud solutions aggregator focused on SMB resellers. The business was later sold and now largely focuses on desktop as a service (DaaS).
The telco leveraged Cordys software to launch a CSB platform around 2012. But we haven't been able to confirm the company's current status.
9. Cloud Sherpas (acquired):
The company claimed in 2013 to be the world's top CSB providing Google Apps, Salesforce.com and ServiceNow brokerage services. Ultimately became better known as a consulting firm acquired by Accenture.
10. Comcast Upware:
Repositioned as Comcast Business Cloud Solutions. an online marketplace for business-class applications.
Continue to page 2 to see the cloud services brokerage (CSB) list, companies 11 to 20.
Here's a look back at CSBs I was watching around 2012... and how they position themselves in 2016:
Claimed to be the first open source CSB back in 2012 or so. We can no longer track down the company and don't know its fate.
Still positioning itself as a cloud services brokerage marketplace.
13. Cordys (acquired):
Positioned as a software platform for cloud broker enablement in 2012 or so. Acquired by OpenText in 2013 for business process management (BPM).
14. Dell Boomi
: Positioned as a cloud integration platform and still going strong.
A division of DirectDial.com, the DirectCloud business claims to be Canada's leading CSB.
An Austin, Texas-based Cloud Solutions Provider that still aggressively promotes its CSB expertise.
17. Excel Micro (acquired):
Best known as a SaaS distributor, Excel Micro was acquired by J2 Global in 2014.
18. Gravitant (acquired):
IBM acquired Gravitant in November 2015 for its cloudMatrix
19. Green Cloud Technologies:
Still promotes virtual servers, disaster recovery, network services an more to VARs and MSPs. But a true CSB? I'm not sure that's the case.
20. GXS Trading Grid (acquired):
OpenText acquired the B2B e-commerce platform for cloud services in January 2014.
Continue to page 3 to see the cloud services brokerage (CSB) list, companies 21 to 30.
Here's part three of my look back at CSBs I was watching around 2012... and how they position themselves in 2016:
21. HP Aggregation Platform for SaaS:
I believe HP Enterprise killed off this platform and launched HPE Helion Managed Cloud Broker in its place.
22: Ingram Micro Cloud:
Originally positioned as a cloud services aggregator; now better known as a master cloud services provider (CSP) that supports VARs and MSPs.
Introduced a Cloud Ecosystem Hub
in mid-2012. We haven't been able to track down its status.
Claimed to be the No. 1 cloud services provider (CSP) in North Africa in 2012. The company's website is still active, but the blog hasn't been updated this year and we haven't been able to confirm the company's business status in 2016.
25. Liaison Technologies: Acquired the Hubspan cloud integration platform
in 2012. We're not sure of the current status.
26. Nephos Networks:
Claimed to be the first cloud broker in Latin America back around 2012. Company's Twitter feed hasn't been updated since 2014.
27. Nephos Technologies:
Positioned itself as a cloud services brokerage in the UK. Apparently sill around by we're not sure if the CSB moniker is still in place.
28. Nervogrid (acquired):
Purchased by ALSO Group in 2014. We don't know the current status.
29. Nuvotera (acquired):
Built by an MSP (inhouseIT
) to help channel partners source and manage multiple cloud applications for customers. Launched in November 2013
, Nuvotera formerly was Spam Soap. Acquired by J2 Global's Excel Micro business (see No. 16) above.
30. Rackspace Cloud Tools Marketplace:
Now simply known as the Rackspace Marketplace.
Continue to page 4 to see the cloud services brokerage (CSB) list, companies 31 and beyond.
Here's part four of my look back at CSBs I was watching around 2012... and how they position themselves in 2016:
31. The Rype Group:
Founded in 2009, The company is an Australian Cloud Broker and SaaS integration training and support provider. These days, the company positions itself as a workflow and cloud integration specialist.
an online SaaS application marketplace for channel partners. Still expanding.
33. SoftChoice Cloud
: Softchoice launched its cloud offering in July 2012. We don't know the current status or adoption rates.
34. Synnex CloudSolv:
Positioned as a cloud services aggregator platform for VARs and MSPs a few years ago. Now promoted as a management and deployment platform.
35. Tech Data TDCloud:
Originally pitched as a cloud services aggregator platform for VARs and MSPs. The distributor now emphasizes cloud education and cloud enablement services.
The hosting provider launched VerioCatalyst --
a CSB platform -- in August 2013. But check the web link and you'll find that it's a dead destination. Does the platform live on elsewhere? We're checking.
The company now positions itself as more of a cloud infrastructure provider.
Other Cloud Services Brokerages?
Of course, we're tracking additional companies that "look and feel" like CSBs. But which companies are branding around the term these days? We're all ears if you have more thoughts for us.