Tucked away right now in a private beta is a versatile Cloud Service Broker that sounds like it could be a very handy thing to have around once it's delivered sometime in the first quarter.
Gartner predicted such things would turn up to negotiate relationships between providers of cloud services and service consumers and manage access to the services, providing greater security and creating completely new services. How prescient of Gartner.
The Cloud Service Broker is the handiwork of Vordel Ltd, the Dublin-based governance folks with the string of fancy accounts, and the point of the exercise is to bring trust and reliability to cloud computing so those fancy accounts and others like them won't feel skittish about the cloud.
Vordel CEO Vic Morris claims concerns about the reliability and performance is holding organizations back from the cloud.
Among its other tricks Vordel's broker is supposed to aggregate services from multiple domains into coherent composite services and then apply policies to them to create a trusted environment. And that includes public, private and B2B clouds.
The widgetry registers services from all three domains including Amazon and Google into a single repository - a multi-domain registry repository (MDRR) - for monitoring, management and policy enforcement from one place.
This becomes the single point at which compliance to Service Level Agreements, compliance to privacy and security mandates, and usage statistics can be viewed.
It also offers value-added services such as caching, acceleration and transformation.
Vordel reasons that organizations need a record of how they use cloud computing, both for billing and the audit trail it provides.
Analytics of cloud computing usage, it says, includes not only raw usage information, but also information about service quality, patterns of use over time and the identity of users. This way an organization can understand how it uses the cloud.
All content sent to cloud services must be analyzed for leaked data for loss prevention. Content-level threats, Vordel says, must be detected and blocked. This includes application-level attacks at the API and payload level.
Caching protects the enterprise from the latency associated with connecting to the cloud service. Cloud Service Broker's cache is supposed to save the organization money by allowing some requests to be serviced by the broker itself, removing the need for a (billed) connection up to the cloud provider.
Vordel's widgetry lets developers link local applications to cloud-hosted applications. The local apps can be accessed via Web Services interfaces, database calls and message schemes such as MQ or JMS or the file system.
Content sent to the cloud service may have to be transformed to, say, mediate between different application versions. And a lot of cloud services use REST API interfaces while internal services use SOAP, JMS or older technologies such as - my goodness! - COBOL. Vordel's technology includes an accelerated transformation engine that lets data be transformed at speed.
Its Cloud Service Broker also complements cloud service providers by offering comprehensive SLA monitoring of the cloud service's response time and the entire transaction's throughput time.
It offers so-called traffic throttling, a kind of cloud "surge protector," so if an application makes a high number of calls to a cloud service the broker can deflect a portion of the calls to a backup service, newly provisioned for this purpose.
Lastly, events such as cloud outages turn into alerts so remedial action can be taken.
Vordel customers include Allianz, BAT, Ericsson, the European Union, Fortis, Mazda, Telefonica, TIM and government agencies in the US and worldwide.
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