Cloud Computing Standards and Interoperability Being Established

The advent of cloud computing exploding to most any type of application being available, has caused severe confusion for end-users.  It only makes sense for industry standards and interoperability to be established and provide some guidance for customers. This is an update of a post we did in 2009 when the standards were announced.  It has been updated for today’s evolution of the cloud and SaaS marketplace.

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) announced the formation of the Cloud Storage Initiative (CSI) in order to establish a lexicon of cloud-computing terminology, publish use cases, white papers and technical specifications, and to create reference implementation models for grid-storage architectures. A good start for customers as it starts the conversation as to what factors organizations need to consider when implementing a cloud solution.  The amount of areas that these initiatives cover highlight that organizations need to be more educated towards the marketplace and what is available from the vendors as to what their solutions cover. Vendors need to also work with consumers and educate them. This means actually putting customer needs above selling their solution and getting it right.
Organizations will have to become more educated and understand where cloud, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, SOA and others fit within their IT infrastructure. Whether you have a legacy system or are adding to existing systems; how do you add solutions to complement existing systems? How do you combine them with on-premise and/or cloud solutions either as a SaaS or outsourced business services is where organizations will have to pay attention.
The implications of this news, should it be embraced by vendors and more importantly end-users (organizations) should drive cloud computing to a whole other level. The creation of open standards for vendors to comply will also make it easier for customers to migrate from one system to another and allow the end-user multiple choices of vendors and applications as they should all work together as this is one the goals that this cloud initiative establishes. Theoretically these initiatives should provide those benefits. However in 2012 with an ever-changing evolution of cloud solutions this has not been the case. More cloud and SaaS solutions have introduced more questions as to new software categories emerging, new trends such as big data, collaboration is making it more difficult to make the right software decisions.  
The creation and consumption of data should be easier by making the data easily portable to other applications within the enterprise space. This is especially great news for the SME market as there are many services that an SME can utilize such as cloud storage, outsourced procurement, server virtualization, human resources and all types enterprise software systems etc. That can be made to work together. To the credit of enterprise software vendors they have made some strides as to the portability of data, social and vendor lock-in has been reduced, thereby not limiting consumer options.
This would make the IT strategies for organizations easier as now the data portion of the will be considered as this was not often the case. The explosion of information, different sources, and content management of internal and external data can now be managed a little easier. An advantage that this may offer organizations is that they can easily switch to other applications and not have to redo the implementation as the data is now reusable and portable (theoretically)
Let’s hope the cloud computing initiative can provide direction, allows data transformation, increase portability and not lose sight of why this was created. Vendors that offer this thought leadership and early adoption of the cloud initiative might be looked upon as market leaders in a step towards creating a more trusting relationship with customers.
About Eval-Source
Eval‐Source is a consulting firm that provides all enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations to achieve success in their IT initiatives. Our consulting practices encompass cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP, Supply Chain, and technology strategy consulting. Our Tru‐Eval selection system allows organizations to avoid IT failure, receive greater ROI and provide accurate decision support for enterprise software. Eval‐Source is an industry leader in the analysis of software technology and our thought leadership has placed us in the elite of consulting/analyst firms. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and optimization of their technology systems. We are the source for “getting it right” in IT procurement.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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