Aggregating Cloud services and adding value is not new. In fact, StrikeIron has been doing it since 2004 when we launched our Web Services Marketplace aimed at making it easy to integrate SOAP and REST-based APIs. What is new however is the term "Cloud Services Brokerage", which has come into the scene the past couple of years and is now becoming more and more commonplace by analysts, vendors, and enterprise IT professionals. It has evolved to contain much more of a "Cloud" focus than earlier service brokerage concepts, but the general premise and benefits are still pretty much the same.
The key idea is that multiple services are aggregated from multiple sources of data, and then delivered via a single point of entry. The "brokerage" handles integrating, customizing, governing, and otherwise normalizing the access to these data sources, all in an effort to reduce end-user complexity. This normalization not only extends to the interfaces, but also the data structures, service behavior, service responses, and the business models that dictate service usage.
This is all very important because of the breadth of data and data-driven business functions that are available out on the Web that can be put to use. Many of these data sources are commercial, but some of them are also public, and others are created in real-time. If leveraged, much of this third-party data can provide a tremendous value to the organization that can figure out how to make use of it, including within operations, to aid decision-making, and as an important component of sales and marketing campaigns.
However, in raw form, the data available out on the Web typically exists in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and formats, with an equal variability in business model to match, making it a very complex exercise to harness any of it. If you are familiar with the demise of UDDI, you know how important it is to overcome these challenges. These were not the tenants of UDDI upon its introduction, and as a result it receives very little consideration today.
Simplifying access to these rich data sources in a reliable, high-performance manner, on top of a multi-tenant delivery platform built to both manage and abstract the underlying complexity to the external data and data-related functions is the purpose of a Cloud Services Brokerage, and exactly what StrikeIron delivers. Providing consistent, easy, plug-n-play access to a normalized set of high value services, without the requirement of managing, updating, and otherwise maintaining the underlying data, is an important step in bringing the concept of the "The Great Data Highway" in to being. It is a modern approach to the distribution of data via the Cloud, and one that over 1600 StrikeIron customers can attest to.