Avoiding cloud lock-in

New technologies and working groups expand cloud interoperability

The challenge of cloud computing is that each vendor has its own set of application programming interfaces (APIs), said Reuven Cohen, who leads the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum (CCIF).

Cohen spoke at a Cloud Interoperability Workshop held during the Object Management Group Technical Meeting in Arlington, Va., this week.

Why are all those APIs a problem? If a government agency wants to move data and applications from one cloud to another or if it wants to link two cloud implementations, it could run into difficulty translating the data and instructions between the two services.

To address that problem, the group has released the Unified Cloud Interface Project, which Cohen described as a generalized abstract layer that would allow cloud providers to develop a common language for describing and sharing services. The group says a standardized model for costing would also be helpful.

In addition, the Open Cloud Consortium has created a number of working groups to help develop standards, reference implementations and test beds.

"There is no one grid," said Robert Grossman, who leads the consortium, at the meeting. "If an [agency is] spending millions of dollars building new apps, you want to be able to move [them] to a new provider." That is why the government might eventually want to encourage the development of standards, he added.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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