/// Interoperability and Openness: Why an Open Cloud Is the Only Cloud for the Future
Image copyright Ivo Pregelj Enterprise attitudes toward the cloud are changing; there is no doubt about that. Taking a look at Gartner’s recent cloud projections for the current $130bn industry, the largest growth areas in enterprise cloud spending are for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and cloud management and security, all critical business operations. Larger organizations are now prepared to utilize the cloud for far more than simply hosting email or non-critical applications, and it’s a sign that the cloud is coming of age. Despite the trend toward cloud adoption, there is still debate around exactly what form it will take. One of the key reasons for moving to cloud infrastructure is the promise of agility that clouds are known to provide. Agility requires flexibility and so smart organizations are looking for cloud technologies that are going to give the greatest range of options. This is partly in response to the early days of cloud being dominated by largely closed, proprietary systems which could restrict the users both at a technical and a commercial level. Now, with more critical workloads moving to the cloud, organizations can’t feel comfortable entrusting their operations to a single vendor that potentially won’t meet all their needs for scalability, cost and other key factors. In fact, data and application portability are arguably more important to today’s enterprise than any specific technology, and, if organizations can’t move workloads in and out of clouds at will, they won’t want to use them. Further, as organizations of all stripes juggle more and more data volumes and rely on increasingly complex applications, the rate at which they must adopt new IT infrastructure components is becoming exponential. Enterprises with diverse and rapidly evolving technology needs can’t settle for a closed cloud deployment characterized by excessive vendor lock-in. Rather, they need a flexible model where cloud components from various vendors are highly interoperable, meaning they can work together seamlessly, so that best-of-breed solutions can be combined in a way that builds a cloud tailored to the organization’s unique business model. Open source technologies are particularly valuable here because of their customizability and relatively high compatibility with other solutions. An uptick in interoperability and openness among cloud vendors will ensure that vendor lock-in and closed ecosystems don’t strangle all the best business benefits out of the cloud: Cost efficiency, scalability, accessibility, reliability, etc. Additionally, interoperability supports the growing momentum of hybrid cloud strategies, which utilize any number of private and public cloud components that must be efficiently connected. These are all reasons why highly interoperable “open cloud” models, epitomized by the open source cloud platform OpenStack , are rapidly gaining ground among the myriad of startups, enterprises, telcos and service providers entering the cloud market today. It’s Not Public vs. Private Anymore In many ways, the shift to open clouds is intertwined with the shift to hybrid clouds. There has been much debate over whether private or public clouds will gain mainstream enterprise adoption, but it’s becoming clear that hybrid strategies utilizing both public and private clouds are, basically, the future.
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