Open Cloud: Making the Case for Interoperability in Cloud Computing

Open Cloud: Making the Case for Interoperability in Cloud Computing

Cloud computing, often shortened to the cloud, has quickly risen to become a dominant business technology. The majority of businesses have adopted the cloud in some form. This could either be a cloud-based business solution or a full-fledged cloud environment. However, there’s been a problem with the cloud that has shadowed the technology since it was introduced. That problem is that the cloud isn’t as open as it should be.

Opening up the cloud has been a point of contention for technology professionals and cloud providers. The open cloud movement seeks to achieve interoperability between all major cloud vendors; that is to say, they want to build a system where each cloud vendor is compatible with specific file and project formats. With an open cloud, a user can reap the benefits of each provider’s services and create a true multicloud infrastructure.

Why should the cloud become more open, and what steps can the top vendors take to address the issue?

How open cloud will dismantle the cloud wars

Major cloud vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud have traditionally sectioned off their cloud environments and services from each other. This is typically done by having a specific set of file types and configurations that only works in one cloud environment. In other words, a vendor will make it difficult to move projects built in their cloud environment to another cloud deployment. This phenomenon is sometimes called the “cloud wars.”

While it does make sense for these rival companies to work against each other from a business perspective, some of its consequences hurt the user in the end. It creates the problem of vendor lock-in, where a user’s projects are so reliant on one vendor’s cloud environment and services that it becomes incredibly hard to transition to another provider. That makes it tricky for users who aren’t satisfied with their current vendor to move their projects from another provider seamlessly.

Data migration and open cloud

Because of the threat of vendor lock-in, migrating data from one cloud environment to another isn’t as easy as it should be. If a company decides to move to a new cloud environment, it will have to adjust its projects or build them again from scratch in order to make them fit. If cloud vendors supported more open file formats, this irritating process could be circumvented; users could simply migrate the data from one cloud to another and continue working.

Creating a true multicloud

Multicloud deployments, or deployments where a user runs multiple cloud environments from two or more different vendors, are becoming more and more popular. The benefit to a multicloud deployment is that users can take advantage of services from various vendors to build their projects. It also means that a user can design their usage of a specific cloud environment around a particular task – using AWS for storage and Google Cloud for developing applications, for example.

However, this can be difficult to achieve without an open cloud. By achieving compatibility with open data formats for each cloud environment, vendors can make a true multicloud deployment.

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Daniel Hein