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#56 Cloud Broker Organizations
on Wed Jul 07 2021 17:00:00 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
In this episode, part one of two, Darren and Intel Cloud Solution Architects Dave Shrestha and Kevin Bleckman talk about the importance of a cloud broker organization. Dave and Kevin founded Intel’s cloud brokerage team about seven years ago. Intel workers were consuming the public cloud, and it was like the wild wild West with people just swiping their credit cards for access. Security was an issue and spending got out of control. To rein in the chaos, they created a cloud broker organization.
Dave and Kevin founded Intel’s cloud brokerage team about seven years ago. Intel workers were consuming the public cloud, and it was like the wild wild West with people just swiping their credit cards for access. Security was an issue and spending got out of control. To rein in the chaos, they created a cloud broker organization.
A centralized approach was necessary to control costs, organize and create enterprise contracts with vendors, and set up billing through one organization. Instead of using individual credit cards or creating their own POs, Intel’s business groups use a master PO through IT, which is then billed back to the different groups. Overall, it saves money because now Intel has collective purchasing power, including more advanced cost-saving opportunities, such as purchasing reserved capacity rather than paying on-demand prices.
It took a bit of time to get everyone on board with the organization, with some still using their credit cards to open accounts. To help negate this, some of the cloud providers gave Intel a report of accounts that were opened with Intel email addresses. Rather than only approaching these “escapes” as a policy violation, it was a chance to educate them about the benefits of using the central Intel account: security standards already in place, enterprise support, training, and cost efficiency.
In addition to those benefits, Intel also built a cloud Center of Excellence, a community-based forum that they ask people to join when they get their cloud accounts. Its growth has been grassroots, providing information and feedback to members.
Many developers and others who use the cloud just want to use it and not have to think about the security or cost, for example. Having the cloud brokerage team allows them to do that. An analogy is that IT puts the developer in a sandbox with all the toys, but doesn’t allow them to kick sand outside of the sandbox or play with the toys on the outside. This provides the developer community with safe, secure accounts and access whenever they need it.
There are hundreds of services available across public cloud providers, and they are always releasing new services and capabilities. It’s hard for business groups to have or maintain expertise on all those services. A central cloud broker team that is focused on public cloud and keeps up with the latest services can offer guidance and knowledge about where to land different workloads. The key to the brokerage is that people are coming to a central funnel and are being redirected to the right services.
It’s not only useful to have a dedicated cloud brokerage team, but people within the team that focus on particular cloud providers. For example, at Intel, as they reached critical mass and the cloud providers matured and started offering a massive amount of services, Kevin focused on AWS and Dave focused on Azure in order to do a deeper dive into each one.
Using multiple cloud offerings rather than just one was a natural decision as business groups came in with preferences and different workloads do better with different providers. The providers’ differences were more distinct in the past. Now, there is a more level playing field.
A cloud broker is not just someone in a technical position, but a jack of all trades. Dave and Kevin became experts on everything related to cloud, such as security and networking, and they educated those teams as they expanded their scope from on prem to public cloud. By having a central cloud team, Intel’s other organizations were able to become educated, expand, and grow. The team was nicknamed “The Glue” because of their central and varied role.