Category Archives: cloud brokerage

Verizon and VMTurbo collaborate over smart cloud brokerage

cloud exchangeUS telco Verizon and control system maker VMTurbo have jointly created the Verizon Intelligent Cloud Control to help Verizon customers migrate workloads to the most suitable public cloud service.

The system works by calculating the enterprise customer’s performance and resource needs and matching them up to the most likely provider. The partners claim this is the first automated system of its kind on the market.

Existing cloud brokerages, they claim, have to manually recommend workload placement to public cloud service providers (CSPs). However Intelligent Cloud Control gives Verizon customers a system that automatically makes instant calculations on price, performance and placements, while taking in compliance considerations. It also makes all the sizing and configuration decisions needed in order to install and migrate workloads to public cloud providers.

Verizon claims the system will be easy to use with a single interface and detailed cost controls that will eliminate billing surprises. The system will also help end users keep on top of performance and compliance issues through rigourous cloud monitoring.

The ‘Verizon Intelligent Cloud Control powered by VMTurbo’ service will launch during the first quarter of 2016. Initially the service will include connections to Amazon Web Services, IBM SoftLayer and Microsoft Azure.

Verizon’s customers said they needed a better way to manage their risk when moving to the public cloud, according to Victoria Lonker, director of enterprise networking for Verizon. “We are removing the complexities and myriad trade-offs between price, performance and compliance in various public cloud services,” said Lonker, “now they can focus on the applications and services.”

VMTurbo’s Application Performance Control system is used by 1200 enterprises to guarantee Quality of Service for applications and to make full use of all resources in cloud and virtualized environments.

“Intelligent Cloud Control is different from today’s cloud brokers and managers as it factors in application performance and price,” said Endre Sara, VP of advanced solutions of VMTurbo.

Managing Resources in the Cloud: How to Control Shadow IT & Enable Business Agility


In this video, GreenPages CTO Chris Ward discusses the importance of gaining visibility into Shadow IT and how IT Departments need to offer the same agility to its users that public cloud offerings like Amazon can provide.



If you would like to hear more from Chris, download his on-demand webinar, “What’s Missing in Today’s Hybrid Cloud Management – Leveraging Cloud Brokerage”

You can also download this ebook to learn more about the evolution of the corporate IT department & changes you need to make to avoid being left behind.




Google & Amazon Cut Prices & Microsoft is Next. Why Not Take Advantage of Them All?

By Ben Stephenson, Journey to the Cloud


There’s been a lot of talk this week about price cuts coming from cloud providers. First Google announced several price reductions for most of its cloud services. In response, Amazon announced a round of price cuts as well. This marked the 42nd time AWS has reduced prices since 2006. This means that Microsoft Azure will most likely get in on the action as well. Last April, Microsoft pledged that it would match any price drops from AWS. In early 2014, Microsoft did just that when it lowered prices to match a reduction made by Amazon. TechCrunch has nice write-ups on the specifics of the Google & Amazon  price reductions.

Obviously price cuts are beneficial to organizations using these platforms, but wouldn’t it make sense to take advantage of price cuts from multiple providers at the same time to maximize cost savings and performance? What if you moved different applications to different clouds – or even different parts of an application to different clouds?

Let’s say you have some applications for your database that require high-end performance, and you’re willing to pay more for performance.  But if you use a more expensive provider exclusively, you may be overspending in other areas that do not require as high performance. So, instead of running all your apps on the same provider, you could move some, say, commodity web-based applications that don’t require as much performance to the cheapest provider. You also have to keep in mind that the best option could be to keep the application on premise. This is only one example. John Dixon wrote a great ebook about the evolution of the corporate IT department and gives a more in depth look at the “which app, which cloud” philosophy that I highly recommend downloading.

So why don’t more companies split applications across multiple cloud providers? It’s simple; it’s complex and painful to manage. Furthermore, price cuts can happen at the spur of the moment so you need to be able to take advantage in real time to maximize savings.

This is where you need a management platform like GreenPages’ Cloud Management as a Service (CMaaS) Brokerage and Governance offering. CMaaS gives you the ability to match the right applications to the right cloud providers and compare the true cost of running your resources at a CSP before even placing an order. The platform eliminates cloud sourcing complexity with a central portal where business and IT users can quickly and easily aggregate, procure, and pay for cloud solutions. It answers the “which app, which cloud?” question across both internal private and public cloud environments.

Has your organization looked into spreading different applications across different clouds? What are your thoughts?


Download whitepaper: Cloud Management, Now



What’s Missing from Today’s Hybrid Cloud Management – Leveraging Brokerage and Governance

By John Dixon, Consulting Architect, LogicsOne

Recently GreenPages and our partner Gravitant hosted a webinar on Cloud Service Broker technology. Senior Analyst Dave Bartoletti gave a preface to the webinar with Forrester’s view on cloud computing and emerging technology. In this post we’ll give some perspective on highlights from the webinar. In case you missed it, you can also watch a replay of the webinar here:

Ben Tao, Director of Marketing for Gravitant, kicks off the discussion by describing the traditional data center sourcing model. Two key points here:

  1. Sourcing decisions, largely based on hardware selection, are separated by years
  2. In a cloud world, sourcing decisions can be separated by months or even weeks


The end result is that cloud computing can drive the benefit of a multi-sourcing model for IT, where sourcing decisions are made in close proximity to the use of services. This has the potential of enabling organizations to adjust their sourcing decisions more often to best suit the needs of their applications.

Next, Dave Bartoletti describes the state of cloud computing and the requirements for hybrid cloud management. The core of Dave’s message is that the use of cloud computing is on the rise, and that cloud is being leveraged for more and more complex applications – including those with sensitive data.

Dave’s presentation is based on the statement, “what IT must do to deliver on the hybrid cloud promise…”

Some key points here:

  • Cloud is about IT services first, infrastructure second
  • You won’t own the infrastructure, but you’ll own the service definitions; take control of your own service catalog
  • The cloud broker is at the center of the SaaS provider, cloud VAR, and cloud integrator
  • Cloud brokers can accelerate the cloud application lifecycle


Dave does an excellent job of explaining the things that IT must do in order to deliver on the hybrid cloud promise. Often, conversations on cloud computing are purely about technology, but I think there’s much more at stake. For example, Dave’s first two points above really resonate with me. You can also read “cloud computing” as ITIL-style sourcing. Cloud computing puts service management back in focus. “Cloud is about IT services first, infrastructure second,” and “You won’t own the infrastructure […]” also suggests that cloud computing may influence a shift in the makeup of corporate IT departments – fewer   core technologists and more “T-shaped” individuals. So called T-shaped individuals have knowledge and experience with a broad set of technologies (the top of the “T”), but have depth in one or more areas like programming, Linux, or storage area networking. My prediction is that there will still be a need for core technologists; but that some of them may move into roles to do things like define customer-facing IT services. For this reason, our CMaaS product also includes optional services to deal with this type of workforce transformation. This is an example of a non-technical item that must be made when considering cloud computing. Do you agree? Do you have other non-technical considerations for cloud computing?

Chris Ward, CTO of LogicsOne, then dives in to the functionality of the Cloud Management as a Service, or CMaaS offering. The GreenPages CMaaS product implements some key features that can be used to help customers advance to the lofty points that Dave suggests in his presentation. CMaaS includes a cloud brokerage component and a multi-cloud monitoring and management component. Chris details some main features from the brokerage tool, which are designed to address the key points that Dave brought up:

  • Collaborative Design
  • Customizable Service Catalog
  • Consistent Access for Monitoring and Management
  • Consolidated Billing Amongst Providers
  • Reporting and Decision Support

Chris then gives an example from the State of Texas and the benefits that they realized from using cloud through a broker. Essentially, with the growing popularity of e-voting and the use of the internet as an information resource on candidates and issues, the state knew the demand for IT resources would skyrocket on election day. Instead of throwing away money to buy extra infrastructure to satisfy a temporary surge in demand, Texas utilized cloud brokerage to seamlessly provision IT resources in real time from multiple public cloud sources to meet the variability in demand.

All in all, the 60-minute webinar is time well spent and gives clients some guidance to think about cloud computing in the context of a service broker.

To view this webinar in it’s entirety click here or download this free whitepaper to learn more about hybrid cloud management


Is There Such a Thing as Just-In-Time IT?

By Praveen Asthana, Chief Marketing Officer, Gravitant


The concept of “Just-in-Time” was pioneered in the manufacturing supply chain as a critical way to reduce costs by minimizing inventory.   Implementing a just-in-time system that can handle unexpected demand is not a trivial undertaking.  It requires the confluence of a number of disciplines such as analytics, statistics, sourcing, procurement, production management, brokerage and economics.

An interesting new idea is to take this concept pioneered in manufacturing and apply it to Information Technology resources.  Doing this can provide an effective way to meet dynamically changing needs while minimizing the inventory of unused IT resources across a set of cloud services platform and providers.

Case Study:  Election Day 2012.

With the growing popularity of e-voting and use of the Internet as an information resource on candidates and issues, the Secretary of State’s office for one of the most populous U.S. states knew that demand for IT resources would go up significantly on election day.  But they didn’t know exactly how much, and they didn’t want to buy extra infrastructure for a temporary surge in demand.  Even if they could come up with a good guess for the demand, deploying the right amount of resources in a timely manner would be challenging.  Given the time it normally took (months) to deploy and provision new servers, the Secretary of State’s office knew they couldn’t use traditional means to procure compute and storage capacity to meet this demand.

As it turned out, demand went up over 1000% to over five million hits on the state voting web site by noon on Election Day.


Fortunately the state had deployed a novel capability based on a cloud brokerage and management platform to seamlessly provision IT resources in real time from multiple public cloud sources to meet the variability in demand.  As a result, this demand was fully met without needing to do complicated planning or buy unneeded infrastructure. I’ll actually be speaking on a webinar with Chris Ward, CTO at GreenPages-LogicsOne and Dave Bartoletti, a Senior Analyst at Forrester Research on June 12th to talk about leveraging cloud brokerage and the impact it can have on managing your IT environment.

Minutes, not months—that’s what enterprise users want when it comes to having I.T. resources available to meet changing business needs or develop new applications.

However users find this to be an extraordinary challenge—most IT departments today struggle with rigid processes, a round-robin of tasks and approvals across multiple silos and departments, and manual provisioning steps.  All this adds significant time to the deployment of I.T. resources resulting in users waiting for months before the resources they need become available.

How do users respond to such delays?  By going around their IT departments and directly accessing cloud services.  Often termed ‘rogue IT’ or ‘shadow IT,’ such out of process actions expose the company to financial risk, security risks, and operational risk.

The Solution: Just-in-time IT with Real-Time Governance

Just-in-time IT is not merely about using private or public cloud services.   It is about engineering the end-to-end IT supply chain so it can be agile and respond immediately to dynamic business needs.  To achieve this in practice, you need:

  1. Effective assessment and strategy
  2. Self-service catalog of available IT resources
  3. Collaborative solution design
  4. Rapid approval work flow
  5. Sourcing platform that allows you to select the right supply chain partners for your business need or workload profile.
  6. Single button provisioning of resources
  7. Transparency across the IT supply chain
  8. Sophisticated supply-demand analytics
  9. Elastic source for resources
  10. Governance—dynamic control of resources based on goal based optimization of budget, resource usage and SLAs.


The first critical aspect of real time supply chain is identifying, sourcing and procurement of best fit cloud platforms and providers (internal or external) to meet your unique business needs.

The second critical aspect of ensuring just-in-time IT is effective is real-time governance, for this is the mechanism by which you truly manage the elasticity of cloud resources and ensure that IT resource inventory is minimized.   This also has the additional benefit of eliminating shadow or rogue I.T.

As I mentioned above, if you’re interested in learning more on this topic I would highly recommend registering for the upcoming webinar “What’s Missing In Today’s Hybrid Cloud Management – Leveraging Cloud Brokerage” being held on June 12th. This should be a great session and there will be time for Q & A at the end.

About the Author:

Praveen Asthana is Chief Marketing Officer of Gravitant (, a cloud services brokerage and management company.  Prior to joining Gravitant, Praveen was Vice President of Marketing and Strategy for Dell’s $13B Enterprise Solutions Division.

Selling Value in the Cloud


Cloud brokerage makes a great deal of sense to the channel. Take vanilla services from a variety of vendors, package them with (or without) your own secret sauce, and sell them with your own SLA wrapped around them. It’s a classic channel solution sell. That said, this brings VARs and ISPs into conflict with IT departments – which, in the past, have been the owner of the service guarantee within each organization, and which may be feeling increasingly marginalized by the migration of application and resource management to the cloud. In this article by John Zanni, VP of service provider marketing and alliances at Parallels he discusses how Cloud brokerage turns resellers into VARs again.


Read the article on ChannelPro.


Selling Value in the Cloud


Cloud brokerage makes a great deal of sense to the channel. Take vanilla services from a variety of vendors, package them with (or without) your own secret sauce, and sell them with your own SLA wrapped around them. It’s a classic channel solution sell. That said, this brings VARs and ISPs into conflict with IT departments – which, in the past, have been the owner of the service guarantee within each organization, and which may be feeling increasingly marginalized by the migration of application and resource management to the cloud. In this article by John Zanni, VP of service provider marketing and alliances at Parallels he discusses how Cloud brokerage turns resellers into VARs again.


Read the article on ChannelPro.


Cloud Computing and the Changing Role of IT

By John Dixon, Consulting Architect, LogicsOne

On Tuesday April 29th, I participated in another tweetchat hosted by Cloud Commons. As usual, it was an hour of rapid fire conversation and discussion amongst some really smart people. This time, the topic was based around “cloud computing and the changing role of IT,” and there were some great takeaways from the dialogue.  Below are the six questions that were asked during the chat as well as a quick summary of my thoughts and the thoughts of the group as a whole.

  1. How is cloud computing changing the role of IT?
  2. Besides cloud, what other trends are influential in changing the role of IT?
  3. What steps should the IT department take to become a trusted advisor to the business?
  4. How should the IT department engage with the business on cloud purchases?
  5. Should the IT department make reining in rogue cloud services a top priority?
  6. How can the CIO promote innovation in the era of lower IT spending?


Question 1: How is cloud computing changing the role of IT?

  • The main point I wanted to get across in question one was that corporate IT is no longer just a provider of technology, but, rather, they are a provider of IT services.
  • IT needs to be relevant to the business. They can do this by developing valuable service products
  • IT now needs to be extremely proactive. No more sitting around waiting for something to go wrong… instead get out in front of demands from the business – understand the business’s specific issues, and proactively evaluate emerging technology that may be of benefit
  • All in all, I’d say most of the group was on the same page for this answer


Question 2: Besides cloud, what other trends are influential in changing the role of IT?

  • The most popular answers from participants were: big data, analytics, virtualization, mobility, BYOD, and DevOps. It seemed like every answer had at least one of these included in it.
  • A couple others I threw out were distributed workforce and telecommuters, social media, and the overall increased reliance on IT for everything


Question 3: What steps should the IT department take to become a trusted advisor to the business?

  • The key here is that IT should not try to ALIGN to the business’s demands…IT should PARTNER with the business
  • Another point I brought up was that IT needs to show the business that IT is another provider in a competitive market – corporate IT needs to shows that they deliver more value than alternative providers. After giving this answer, I got a couple questions wondering why IT should compete with 3rd parties rather than leverage them? My point was that cloud opens up competition in the market for IT services and that the business now has a choice of where and how to procure services. At this point it’s a reality, corporate IT is just another competitor in a cloud world.
  • A great answer from Jackie Kahle (@jackiekahle) was to tell the business something they don’t know about their customers by providing data-driven insights. In her opinion, and I agree, this will encourage the business to turn to cororate IT more often.
  • Another good answer from George Hulme (@georgevhulme) was to give users and the business viable alternatives with clear risk/reward/benefits delineated.


Question 4: How should the IT department engage with the business on cloud purchases?

  • My first answer was that IT should source their products and services with the “provider of best fit.” I got the following reply: “that implies choosing best of breed vs. integrated. Cloud practically makes best of breed a foregone conclusion.” The point I was trying to make, and the answer I provided, was that there are varying levels of cloud providers out there so IT departments still need to choose wisely.
  • Andi Mann (@AndiMann) suggested departments need to honestly evaluate their own ability to deliver. He stated in-house IT is not always best and that organizations need to proactively look for cloud to do better. Again, a point I agreed with.


Question 5: Should the IT department make reining in rogue cloud services a top priority?

  • No! Enable and harness their creativity by asking them to use a cloud portal sponsored by corporate IT!
  • IT should treat the business like a customer.
  • The majority of the group agreed that embracing rogue IT was the correct strategy here…not attempting to rein it in.


Question 6: How can the CIO promote innovation in the era of lower IT spending?

  • Ah, the CIO’s favorite saying…”Doing more with less”
  • Provide a means for “safe” Rogue IT (more on that in my summary)
  • Another concept that was echoed by some members of the chat was the idea of adopting a fail-fast culture. Cloud can enable faster deployments, which allows you to try more things quickly, and if you do fail, you can move on. This increases the pace of innovation by enabling the business to take on more “risky” projects – the software development projects that are great ideas but may not have a clear ROI.


My summary

Especially during the past year, in tweetchats and various other forums, consensus on the use and benefits of cloud computing is gaining unanimity. The most significant points:

  • Corporate IT should be a provider of whole IT services “products” and not just technology – and cloud computing can enable this
  • Cloud opens up the business to a competitive market for IT services, of which traditional corporate IT is only one option (thus the role of corporate IT evolves from technology center to order-taker to broker of services)
  • Rogue IT is not necessarily a bad thing; some of the best solutions may come out of rogue projects


GreenPages has been having internal discussions, and discussions with customers, around the concepts highlighted in this tweetchat for some time now.  Because of where the market is heading (as voiced by the thought leaders who took part in this chat) we have developed our Cloud Management as a Service (CMaaS) offering. The product addresses the top issues that are now coming to light – transforming corporate IT into a provider in a competitive market, allowing for a safe place to innovate without being encumbered by policy and process (addressing rogue IT), and, going a step further, enabling consistent management across cloud environments. The premise behind CMaaS is to turn cloud inside out – to manage your internal environment as if it was already deployed in a cloud environment. Glance at this whitepaper I wrote about the concepts behind cloud management as a service and let me know what you think. I’d be very interested to hear people’s takes on whether or not a product like this can address some of the needs in the marketplace today.


If you would like to learn more about CMaaS, fill out this form and someone will be in touch with you shortly.


Guest Post: Who Controls the Cloud Market – Providers or Consumers?

Guest Post: Ilyas Iyoob, Director, Advanced Analytics and Sr. Research Scientist, PhD at Gravitant

We first went from reserving cloud capacity to securing capacity on-demand, and then we even started to bid for unused capacity in the spot market – all in an effort to decrease cost in the cloud.  Can we take this one step further?  Instead of us bidding for capacity, wouldn’t it be interesting if we can get providers to bid for our demand?

Retail Supply Chain Market Analogy

In fact, this is a common phenomena in the retail supply chain industry.  For example, Walmart has a large amount of freight that needs to be shipped between different cities over the course of the year.  So, every year an auction is conducted in which Walmart lists all their shipments, and carriers such as JB Hunt, Schneider, Yellow etc. bid for the opportunity to carry these shipments using their fleet of trucks.  The reason carriers are bidding for retailer demand is because in general, capacity exceeds demand in the retail industry.

Cloud Computing Market

Keeping this in mind, let us now take a look at the Cloud Computing Market.  Does capacity exceed demand or is it the other way around?  A quick way to find out is by observing spot prices in the cloud market.  In today’s market, Amazon’s Spot Instances are 86% cheaper than their on-demand instances, and Enomaly’s SpotCloud also shows lower spot prices across the board.  This leads us to believe that capacity exceeds demand in the cloud market as well.  A related indicator is the predominance of data center consolidation initiatives in both the commercial and government marketplaces.

Since capacity exceeds demand, consumers have an upper hand and are in control of the cloud market at the moment.  Moreover, they should be able to replicate what is being done in the retail supply chain industry.  In other words, cloud consumers should be able to auction off their demand to the best fit lowest price cloud provider.

So, …

Consumers should seize the opportunity and control the market while the odds are in their favor i.e. Demand < Capacity.  At the same time, Service Integrators and Value Added Resellers can help Enterprise IT consumers in this process by conducting Primary-Market auctions using Cloud Service Brokerage technology.

This post was originally published on Gravitant’s blog.