Recently there has been a lot of renewed talk of "Cloud Aggregators" a term that has been thrown around quite bit of the the last few years. But what is a cloud aggregator really? How does one define this segement? How do you qualify a company or service as a cloud aggregator? It's time for my turn to attempt to define this some-what vague term.
First, more generally what is a aggregator? One of the best descriptions I could find is described as "a system or service that combines data or items with similar characteristics (geographic area, target market, size, etc.) into larger entities. Value is derived from cost savings, or the ability to reach a larger market and charge higher prices from bundling multiple goods or services."
I'm not sure I agree with the higher prices part, but I do think the key point is the value in assembling "a system or service" that brings together a group of formally distinct components or web services. For example Google at its heart is an aggregator, all those websites found on the Internet would and do exist regardless of Google, but easy access to all of them through a simple, power and effient interface had previously not existed (at least not in a way that was relevant). Then there are marketplace aggregators such as Ebay, in this case without the ebay platform each of these vendors could not exist beyond potentially a physical storefront. Ebay provided both the aggregation, facilitation (which makes tasks for others easy) and fulfillment (completing the transaction).
So using Google and Ebay as two ends of the aggregator spectrum. You have Google the market disrupter versus ebay the market maker. Each important, but important for very different reasons. Both share common traits in that they provide easy access to something that was previously not very easily accessible. Yet each derive their true value in completely different ways. Google brought order to chaos through the use of advanced algorithms and massive computational power and ebay created a structured marketplace that had never existed in an area that needed it.
Now back to cloud aggregators. Here's my definition.
Cloud Aggregator - a platform or service that combines multiple clouds with similar characteristics (geographic area, cost, technology size, etc.) into a single point of access, format, and structure. Value is derived from cost savings and greater efficiency found from the ability to easily leverage multiple services providers.