A new champion for preventing vendor lock-in in the cloud

The Open Group is looking at architecture and interoperability issues in a good way. Let's hope they succeed in helping the cloud evolve as it should

This week the Open Group announced the formation of its Cloud Work Group, which is being established to ensure the effective and secure use of cloud computing in the context of enterprise architecture, as well as to continue previous Open Group efforts to develop and promote standards for the cloud that prevent vendor lock-in.

I find the Open Group's thinking around the use of cloud computing in traditional enterprise architecture frameworks and in SOA more advanced than that of the other working groups and standards organizations I deal with.

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What's desperately needed now is that we slow down on defining the "what" with cloud computing and focus more on the "how." The Open Group seems focused on the "how," which is encouraging.

Keep in mind that you can't do cloud computing without starting with your own architectural requirements, then working toward the cloud computing platforms. Many enterprises are skipping this requirements step and finding that their cloud computing solutions just don't bring the value that they should. Cloud computing, like any other architectural option, has to be thought about in the larger context of enterprise architecture and SOA to be truly successful.

The concept of vendor lock-in is important to deal with as well, and indeed that's a core focus of the working group. However, as we've found out in the past, well-defined standards won't help unless the technology providers -- in this case, cloud computing providers -- support and adhere to them.

I suspect that this will be the most difficult component of cloud computing to deal with considering that the cloud computing providers are all offering very different technology solutions (programming languages, data formats, and so on), and while everyone is talking "interoperability," there is really no economic incentive to offer it. That is, until those selecting cloud computing platforms make it very clear that closed cloud computing platforms are not an option for them. Hopefully, the Open Group can assist us there.


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