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Cloud Interoperability and Portability II
Irena Bojanova
JUL 25, 2013 08:00 AM
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It's the High-Tech Wild, Wild West out there!

 Although the Cloud Computing marketplace is still chaotic, it is:

  • Exciting
  • Fast-growing
  • Full of opportunities

Being locked-in by a cloud provider is not what customers plan to experience. So, let’s explore a bit more on the cloud portability and interoperability topic.

The Open Cloud Manifesto explains data and applications interoperability and portability as follows:

  • Data and Application Portability: "Without standards, the ability to bring systems back in-house or choose another cloud provider will be limited by proprietary interfaces. Once an organization builds or ports a system to use a cloud provider’s offerings, bringing that system back in-house will be difficult and expensive."
  • Data and Application Interoperability: "It is important that both data and applications systems expose standard interfaces. Organizations will want the ?exibility to create new solutions enabled by data and applications that interoperate with each other regardless of where they reside (public clouds, private clouds that reside within an organization’s ?rewall, traditional IT environments or some combination). Cloud providers need to support interoperability standards so that organizations can combine any cloud provider’s capabilities into their solutions."

The Open Group, which provides recommendations to:

  • Customers on how best to achieve portability and interoperability when working with cloud products and services
  • Suppliers and standards bodies on how standards and best practice should evolve to enable greater portability and interoperability in future.

Please refer Table 1 and Table 2 for a concise presentation on cloud portability and interoperability categories listed by The Open Group.

Table 1. Cloud Portability Categories.

Portability of Enables Re-Use of
  • Data components across different applications
  • Application components across cloud PaaS services and traditional computing platforms
  • Platform components across cloud IaaS services and non-cloud infrastructure (platform source portability)
  • Bundles containing applications and data with their supporting platforms (machine image portability)

Table 2. Cloud Interoperability Categories.

Interoperability of Between Need of

Application components deployed as:

  • SaaS
  • Applications using PaaS
  • Applications on platforms using IaaS

Dynamic discovery and composition:

  • Discover instances of application components
  • Combine them with others at run time.
    Note: Application component may be a complete monolithic application or part of a distributed application.

Platform components deployed as:

  • PaaS
  • Platforms on IaaS

Standard protocols for service discovery and information exchange — indirectly these enable interoperability of applications on these platforms.

  • Cloud services (SaaS, PaaS, Iaas) and programs for implementation of on-demand self-service.

Standard interfaces for cloud services — to create generic system management products for both cloud services and in-house systems.

Publication and Acquisition
  • Platforms, cloud PaaS services and marketplaces (including app stores).

Standard interfaces to these stores — to lower cost of for software provideers and users.

Anyone have thoughts or sources that will help readers understand cloud portability and interoperability? Please share here!

Irena Bojanova

Irena Bojanova, Ph.D., is Founder and Chair of IEEE CS Cloud Computing STC, an Associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing, an Associate editor of International Journal of Big Data Intelligence (IJBDI), and an Editorial Board Member of IEEE CS IT Professional. She is a professor and program director, Information and Technology Systems, at University of Maryland University College, managed academic programs at Johns Hopkins University and PIsoft Ltd., and co-started OBS Ltd., (now CSC Bulgaria). Her current research interests include cloud computing, web-based systems, and educational innovations. She is a member of the IEEE and can be reached

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