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Cloud Computing

What does 'open' mean with cloud computing?

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An issue that David Linthicum raises in this blog, 'open' is becoming almost a religious belief, so what exactly does open mean with cloud computing?

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  • For me, 'open' represents the openness and transparency of the interfaces between components. Given the Cloud is comprised of multiple interacting components, it's critical that these components are interoperable. In many ways, this exists at the lower end of the Cloud, for example, fiber channel and iSCSI storage interfaces, routing protocols, etc. However, as you move up the stack, the formats and protocols tend to become more proprietary. This makes it difficult to move data and processes into the Cloud that is not made of homogeneous components.

  • To reiterate David's three points, they are...

    -Vendor provides the code for the core cloud product or service
    -Vendor takes feedback, fixes, and new features
    -Vendor doesn't take legal action against anyone who takes its core product and builds something better with it, or includes it in other products.

    I think this is fairly spot on. Interoperability among multiple components is also key. This leads into the issue of standards which more and more people are talking about.

  • Open Cloud is a (IaaS, PAaS...) platform that is developed in the public domain and free to use.

  • I am probably looking at this from a different angle. For me, open means that I can move workloads from one cloud to another. This can happen between private clouds, public clouds or a combination of both. That gives me the possibility to change supplier and avoids the current lock in.

  • Asking about the definition of "open" as it relates to anything technology is like opening Pandora's box - and jumping inside.

    For some it's about interoperability between cloud implementations, which could mean transparent APIs or protocols or data formats. For others it's about the transparency of the provider: are they willing to disclose security measures, architecture, disaster recovery plans, technical implementation details, etc... It's about the visibility into the operating environment that makes it "open" or "closed".

    My definition, for what that's worth, is specifically related to the APIs and protocols used to manage and promote interoperability as well as integration of infrastructure components into the "cloud". And that they're "open" means they are well-documented and available to anyone to implement.

  • When I read "open" it minimally connotes the idea of interoperability. For example, can I build an image of physical hardware using a VMWare tool, run it in VirtualBox for a while, and then ship it up to Amazon S3 when I'm ready (and out of hardware & floor space)? I think the cloud vendors need to start with the API-level interoperability and then work on optimizations - some of which will be proprietary - that allow them to drive value and differentiation. Being open and interoperable both frees the consumer to choose and yet attracts those who seek flexibility.

  • My feeling is that the end user is more important than the cloud developer.
    "Open" means the end user can try the product for free, without giving his credit card away.
    Then the users can make a conscious decision on what they feel makes them free.
    Some users hate financial obligations for 3 years more than they have the fact that an API is very specific.
    We need to think of the cloud beyond IT Infrastructure conventions.

  • Used to think it's an all or nothing proposition that revolves primarily on avoiding locked-in of data but now more convinced that 'open' represents varying degrees and types that allow interoperability and transparency as much as portability, too.

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