December 20, 2011 | Written by: Fernando Garcia Velasco
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Note: Over the next two weeks, we’ll be posting one blog per day from our top 10 “greatest hits” from Thoughts on Cloud since we launched in September. This post was originally published on Nov. 9.
According to IDC IT consultancy, SaaS segment will be the largest worldwide development opportunity, driving the need for an ecosystem of cloud application partners. Many corporations are currently transforming their data centers to be standard and homogeneous, to provide self-service provisioning at the IaaS or PaaS level. And, sooner or later they will need to step up to the process of creating their own application ecosystems or to provide bundles of self-service applications to others.
All right, true, everybody knows how to build IaaS or PaaS solutions for a customer or a cloud service provider. But keep going up the ladder and try to think of the way you would build a cloud-enabled application ecosystem for these type of customers, a real SaaS portfolio. Well, this is not that easy when you have to guarantee smooth and seamless integration requirements such as security and identity federation, catalog management or billing, metering, and chargeback.
Whether these corporations want to become cloud service providers or create shared cloud services centers for their internal use, the key to providing the advantages of a true cloud hybrid environment is to articulate a cloud platform that fits all those requirements, such as IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform (CSP2).
A few weeks ago, our expert colleague, Marcela Adan, clearly explained in another blog post, much of the characteristics of CSP2, so I won’t go into that again. Rather, I will try to explain the links of that platform with cloud application providers.
To build a ”shopping mall” of standardized cloud applications for our clients, we can add optional components to the IBM CSP platform, such as storefront and service aggregation tools. One of these service aggregation and brokering cloud tools is Jamcracker.
Jamcracker’s cloud aggregation platform enables service providers, technology providers, and enterprise IT organizations to operate their own cloud service brokerages. They can aggregate a wide array of pre-integrated cloud services and on-board their own, and deliver them to their customers, through their channel partners, or to their employees.
Jamcracker rapidly integrates applications and data across hybrid IT environments in days: public clouds, private clouds, and on-premise systems. The main aspects of Jamcracker platform are:
- Standard-based platform: Built using industry standards (such as Java, SOAP/XML, SAML WSDL, DSML) to facilitate open integration.
- Extensible Data Model: Allows the platform to be tailored to unique enterprise requirements.
- Workflow Automation: Enables the creation and automated execution of customized business processes.
- N-Tiered Architecture: Enables global, regional, departmental or group specific configuration and delegation.
- Jamcracker Services Catalog: More than 100 third-party cloud services have already been pre-integrated with the Jamcracker platform.
- Licensed Software or Hosted Delivery Models: These are available as licensed software to be run by the enterprise or as a managed service.
These aspects will make possible the support for heterogeneous programming models in a virtual environment, under standard-based interoperability and integration with third-party vendors. So, instead of dealing one-by-one with every cloud application provider and designing a specific cloud application solution for every department or each final user, with Jamcracker you get all the facilities to join and seamlessly integrate all of them into the cloud provider’s software catalog.
But how can we really integrate with these applications public clouds? Well, for that, Jamcracker uses the storefront toolkit called Jamcracker Integration Toolkit (JIT).
JIT allows developers or ISVs to integrate their applications with the Jamcracker Delivery Platform through an XML Interface.
Benefits of using a cloud brokerage solution:
With brokerage integration solutions such as the Jamcracker Platform for cloud services, IT organizations or service providers can unify private and public cloud services operations. In particular, these IT groups will be able to:
- Deliver services centrally through online catalogs created and assembled specifically for individual departments, groups or roles.
- Enforce corporate security policies (such as single sign-on) and regulatory compliance requirements for all services consumed by employees, departments, and regions across the enterprise.
- Audit access and usage for all Cloud services consumed across the enterprise.
- Manage all aspects of the cloud services life cycle within the enterprise including cataloging, self-service provisioning, monitoring, user administration, support, metering, and billing.
- Report on service performance and utilization.
In summary, Jamcracker platform helps to complete the technical solution of IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform (CSP2) by providing the upper layer, and to centralize all aspects related to the aggregation, delivery, administration, and management of private and public cloud services across any organization.