Cloud Service Broker

Cloud Roles

In 2011, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in its Cloud Computing Reference Architecture defined the following cloud roles:


Cloud Provider

Person, organisation or entity responsible for making a service available to Cloud Consumers.


Cloud Consumer

Person or organisation that maintains a business relationship with, and uses service from Cloud Provider.


Cloud Broker

An entity that manages the use, performance and delivery of cloud services, and negotiates relationships between Cloud Providers and Cloud Consumers.


Cloud Carrier

The intermediary that provides connectivity and transport of cloud services from Cloud Providers to Cloud Consumers.


Cloud Auditor

A party that can conduct in-dependent assessment of cloud services, information system operations, performance and security of the cloud implementation.

To support consumers, a Cloud Broker ...

  • integrates service landscape
  • maintains infrastructure for running the services
  • provides Single Sign-On and strong security
  • negotiates licenses with cloud providers
  • consolidates SLA's & licenses
  • gives choice and full transparency about the services it offers
  • sells services in a transactional license model (pay-as-you-go)

Supported by the Cloud Broker, the Cloud Consumer can then

  • Focus on his core business
  • Re-use rather than re-invent
  • Buy, not build
  • Start small and scale
  • Pay exactly what was used (pay-as-you-go)

The importance of cloud brokers is confirmed by Gartner:

Cloud services brokerage will represent the single largest revenue growth opportunity in cloud computing ! Without brokerage, cloud computing will struggle. ‍
Be a brokerage, be an enabler of brokerage, or depend on brokerage.

Open Service Broker Standard (OSB-API)


End of 2016, the CloudFoundry Foundation started an API specification to standardise cloud service brokerage under the name of Service Broker API. This task was supported by Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Pivotal, RedHat and SAP.

The specification was later adopted by the Kubernetes community and adjusted. Both CloudFoundry and Kubernetes infrastructures are now supported. This makes services from Google Cloud (GCP), AWS, Azure, and IBM available under one single interface.

OSB-API provides five endpoints: catalog, plans, service_instance, and service_binding. The standard is extensible via defined extension points. The goal of the standard is to build a marketplace of services that are offered with self-service access to developers.

Arbalo has implemented this standard on Kubernetes and extends it with its own features (e.g. ratings of services by Arbalo's clients).

Currently, the Arbalo solution is deployed on Google Cloud's datacenter in Switzerland. Support for Multi-Cloud is planned-in from the beginning and will be available soon.

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