While there is still much to be desired in the way of true interoperability in the cloud, there is still a significant amount of progress being made.
The latest step forward involves the formation of The OpenStack Foundation, which is charged with building a consensus around how the management of cloud computing should evolve. While there are still some major players missing from The OpenStack Foundation, most notably Amazon and Citrix, there is some critical mass starting to build. Angel Diaz, IBM vice president for software standards, says the most important thing to remember is that it’s a framework for managing the cloud. Each vendor still needs to come up with its own management applications based on the framework. But a common framework makes it possible for each vendor to manage multiple instances of cloud computing.
While OpenStack gets most of the attention these days, Diaz says equally important, nascent, standard efforts include the Linked Data Working Group created by the W3C to create a more granular way of integrating applications as an alternative to application programming interfaces, the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) that is being developed by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) to make it easier to move workloads across virtual machines, and the Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA) that is developed by OASIS to provide a standard way of describing cloud application workloads and services.
It may take a while to pull all these efforts together in a way that truly makes cloud computing interoperable. But Diaz says the fact that so much time and money is being poured by the vendor community into developing these standards suggests this might be one of the most exciting times in IT in recent memory. Once workloads in the cloud become truly interoperable, the implications for making cloud computing truly ubiquitous will be profound.
It’s still anybody’s guess what that cloud computing landscape will look like once those standards are in place. But chances are that Amazon is not going to be as dominant in the cloud as it is today once those standards level the playing field.