The cloud has created a new paradigm for business application development and delivery. Yet portability, standards and interoperability between cloud ecosystems remain a distant dream. Like all new technologies, the journey from the drawing board to the beta tests is a long one and much is lost in translation. The ecosystems that finally emerge to satisfy user requirements in the real world create their own canker ridden environments. The real world solutions throw up pain points, such as interoperability and portability between ecosystems that beg early resolutions.
In sync with this trend, most cloud operators offer basic storage capacity and minimum data protection with encryption, de-duplication, compression and/or mirroring/replication thrown in for high availability and security of information. But, they stop short of letting a business port the data wholesale from one vendor to another, due to the “proprietariness” of the interface they have developed and deployed. There is no common REST or Representational State Transfer that can be used to simplify the process.
It is therefore, not surprising that customer advocacy groups like the Cloud Standards Customer Council are focusing market attention on these issues. They separate the hype from the fact and demand granular level modifications to cloud deployments, so that interoperability and portability ceases to be a problem for the customer.
A number of cloud vendors too, are attempting to bridge the technology gaps and connect disparate storage devices with extended security, availability and portability in mind. At a very generic level they hope to offer their customers:
- Data Portability by creating APIs for proprietary clouds. These APIs function like translation layers and provide standards based interfaces for linking up diverse cloud application interfaces.
- Application integration using plug and play standardized enablement software interfaces that can be seamlessly plugged into the existing cloud API to create a bridge to other cloud APIs.
- Data Availability by harnessing the power of snapshots for transferring the contents of one cloud based data repository to another cloud based data repository without fear of corruption; accidental deletion or compromise of information.
The signs seem to portend that proprietary cloud will be history. Cloud computing standards for portability and interoperability between cloud ecosystems may soon become a reality. Users will gain immediate access to greater benefits of cloud integrations and this may make the cloud more elastic while reducing costs.