The Fairfax-based firm said it added the service in response to increased demand for cloud help from federal clients in the face of budget cuts, said Majed Saadi, SRA’s director of cloud computing practice. “The problem has always been they’re afraid to move to the cloud and lose any type of security controls they have in their own data centers.”
SRA is one of an emerging class of IT companies — intermediaries providing cloud computing support, without actually providing the cloud service itself. Analysts sometimes dub this model “cloud brokerage.”
The company doesn’t intend to directly provide cloud services, Saadi said.
“The price of cloud services has been dropping, so there’s really not a space for us to compete,” he said.“But there’s a huge gap we’re trying to fill by helping our customers migrate to the cloud whenever it makes sense, create good strategies to back up the migration, to understand how to migrate and what to migrate, and finally manage the cloud environments.”
SRA isn’t alone. Laurel-based IT firm Aquilent also supports federal agencies as they transition to the cloud, along with hundreds of other companies.
The model is growing in popularity as vendors try to defend against the “rapid commoditization of their existing [cloud] services business” and opt instead for a service delivery model, Forrester analyst Stefan Reid said in a report titled “Cloud Broker — A New Business Model Paradigm.”
In 2012, Forrester analysts estimated cloud brokers could generate about $96 million in revenue worldwide.
Intermediaries such as SRA also guide clients through the technology selection process, drawing from services such as Amazon Web Services.
“We’re [platform] agnostic,” Saadi said. “We work with our customers based on their requirements to identify the right service ... It’s going to be a heterogeneous ecosystem where you might use a service from Amazon, another from another service provider, another from a third.”