Cloud marketplaces are the future of cloud computing

In recent months, more and more cloud marketplaces have appeared. These include, inter alia the AWS Marketplace, the Chrome Web Store, the internet4YOU Cloud Marketplace or the Business Marketplace of Deutsche Telekom. Here, companies and also end-users can assemble their own productivity portfolio from a catalog of services and therefore have a selected overview of the possible potential candidates.

Marketplaces provide overview

A cloud marketplace is characterized primarily by the fact that it, e.g. like a classic Webshop categorized products in the form of applications, but also infrastructure. Just when a new trend established, new solutions pop up every day. That makes it for buyers, but also for end users increasingly difficult to maintain an overview of the market. Cloud marketplaces clean up and summarize the different cloud offers by themes. They form an independent ecosystem of cloud services.

Separate the wheat from the chaff

Mind you, there are many “bad” cloud applications on the market that do not provide real value or are simply just not well thought off. Cloud marketplaces help to separate potential top applications from rather insignificant services. A decision aid is already offered by the operators of such marketplaces. So says the German Telekom, that they want to provide a variety of third-party solutions over their marketplace, but deliberately set on quality rather than quantity are. The course involves the danger that potential good applications will not make it in the marketplace because they are falling through the grid of the Telekom. On the other hand, a pre-selection is of course necessary to ensure the quality and consequently the reputation of the marketplace.
Has a service entered the marketplace, the user has an another decision criteria: “the crowd”. Using a scoring system, the quality and functionality of the application is rated and commented by other users and therefore add some more adaptation assistance.

Increase the scope

Cloud marketplaces especially can help young companies that have a low capital for advertising and PR, to increase their visibility and reach. But also established companies that start with cloud services, received opportunities to present themselves to a wide audience and to prove themselves in front of the existing competitors.

Cloud marketplaces are no cloud broker

However, one must consider that cloud marketplaces offer (in its pure form) only services and applications, without providing further added value. Instead of using the search engine of your choice to find possible offers or go directly to the websites of the provider, the access is via the marketplace. After an initial registration through the marketplace, the direct route to the provider can also be taken. The marketplace serves only as a management tool for users to add or unsubscribe any other services.

Cloud services broker however integrate and extend multiple cloud services and thus create added value around the cloud services.
The cloud services brokerage model provides an architectural, business, and IT operating model, by which various cloud services can be provided, managed and adapted. And which is located within a federated and consistent delivery, billing, security, administration and support framework. Companies are thus in a position to unify their cloud services management, in order to increase the level of innovation to improve global collaboration, reduce operational costs and to grow better. Cloud computing providers thus obtained the opportunity to unify the provisioning of their cloud services and differentiate their own services network and thereby provide a comprehensive cloud computing platform. Technology providers can build an ecosystem of value added services to differentiate their main offerings, increase customer loyalty and develop new distribution channels.

Cloud marketplaces are a logical trend

Cloud marketplaces belong to the logical development of cloud computing to enable enterprises and developers an easy access to IT resources. In addition to a well-documented API a good cloud offering also includes a clear and comprehensive web interface, enabling the user to click a cloud infrastructure together, e.g to perform a few tests. Already various vendors have jumped on this train and provide its own marketplace to access their cloud IaaS resources. They also enrich their infrastructure offerings on the market with OS images or other software solutions in order to provide the virtual resources real benefits.

Companies can imagine a cloud marketplace as several shelves in a quasi infinitely large supermarket. And they should use it just like that to assemble their infrastructure arbitrarily. It will be interesting if we go one step further and receive resources and solutions no longer exclusively from a single vendor, but rather from several providers or their marketplaces. But then we are back to the subject of cloud brokerage services.

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.

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