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OASIS Delivers Cloud Computing Application Portability Specification

by JP Morgenthal on Jan 17, 2012 |

Leading tech vendors are working together to establish a standard for enabling “portability of cloud applications and IT services that comprise them running on complex software and hardware infrastructure.” 3M HIS, ASG Software Solutions ,CA Technologies, Capgemini, Cisco Systems Citrix Systems EMC, Gale Technologies, IBM, Jericho Systems, Red Hat SAP AG, Software AG, Inc. are listed as the sponsors of a new OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) technical committee. According to the Overview on the OASIS TOSCA TC site the results of this effort will enable:

  • Portable deployment to any compliant cloud
  • Easier migration of existing applications to the cloud
  • Flexible bursting (consumer choice)
  • Dynamic multi-cloud provider applications

Portability of phone numbers had a major impact on the wireless telecommunications industry as cited here: “the inability to retain a phone number has been cited by consumer advocates as one of the biggest reasons why consumers do not switch services.” Likewise, the inability to port applications will readily become the biggest hurdle to switching cloud service providers.

Portability and openness are critical for Enterprise cloud vendors right now. As documented in Linda Tucci’s post on IT Knowledge Exchange based on a cloud computing summit held in October 2011 in Burlington, Mass., put on by the Mass Technology Leadership Council, vendor lock-in and interoperability are two key concerns that IT executives should be concerned about when considering cloud computing options. So, this is the right messaging at the right time for this group of Enterprise cloud vendors. More importantly will be how these vendors implement this technology in their own products followed at some point by a demonstration of the technology moving an application between participating vendor’s solutions.

However, the likelihood of a consumer swapping out their Cisco UCS cloud infrastructure for HP Matrix or Dell is highly unlikely. The more likely case will be to move applications between internally managed data centers and public cloud service providers. If that is the case, noticeably absent from this list of sponsors are Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, Joyent, Savvis, Terremark, and CSC (vendors identified in this Gartner IaaS Magic Quadrant as leaders). In fact, the only public cloud service provider listed is IBM, who also sells private cloud infrastructure as well.

More information available at http://www.tosca-open.org/

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Will it work? by Roopesh Shenoy

Will it be any good without the involvement of leaders? And what about the increasing adoption of PAAS - not only MS and Google but also services like Amazon SimpleDB/SNS/others which can't be exited that easily?

Also won't this lead to commoditization at a time when cloud providers are trying to differentiate themselves?

Re: Will it work? by Bartosz Klimek

I doubt it will work, for the very same reason why you rarely see migration from one RDBMS engine to another, and when it happens, it is a painstaking task, with a high risk of failure.

Re: Will it work? by JP Morgenthal

These days standards and joint specifications, which is what this really is, are used more as competitive weapons than useful constructs. Still, it's important to report on these initiatives as they are good indicators of they movement in the cloud computing market.

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