Earlier this week, the Open Group announced the creation of the Cloud Work Group which was established to ensure the effective and secure use of cloud computing in enterprise architecture as well as to continue previous Open Group efforts to develop and promote standards for cloud computing that will prevent vendor lock-in, which has been a hot topic these past few months.
As we all know, there are hundreds of “cloud experts” with hundreds of different definitions about what cloud computing really is. I think we’re beyond that at this point. Cloud computing has no official definition, but at this point there’s a general consensus around capacity on demand, access via internet with the use of virtualization, etc. etc. So now that we’re no longer seeking the “what,” the focus has been drawn more towards the “how” in regards to how do we make this technology the best it can be, and in a format that is beneficial to the service providers and the end users.
And that is precisely where the Cloud Work Group fits in. Defining the “how” starts with architectural requirements and works towards the different cloud computing platforms (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS). Vendor lock-in is important to consider as these standards are created – as it’s the main reason for them. However, just because standards are defined, it doesn’t matter until the vendors and providers adhere to those and build their solution around them. There’s the rub.
There are tons of different providers out there, with lots of different solutions on different technology platforms. And currently, there’s just no economic incentive to go towards interoperability (or is there?). So how will we get all of the providers on the same page? What will be the biggest obstacles?