The vendor-neutral cloud: How Red Hat could make it happen

The Deltacloud cloud-neutral API will benefit the broader market more than Red Hat itself by ending provider lock-in

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Red Hat appears to be following the standardization-through-implementation approach and has submitted the Deltacloud API specifications to DMTF cloud standards body.

Regardless of Red Hat's cloud and platform-service business results, they'll likely pale in comparison to the customer value enabled should Deltacloud become a widely adopted industry standard. By leveling the cloud workload portability playing field, Red Hat is enabling other vendors to compete based on the quality and completeness of their platform offering rather than portability itself.

It's encouraging to see that Deltacloud already allows a high level of portability across six cloud providers, with support for two more providers on the way.

Bryan Che, Red Hat's cloud product manager, explains the Deltacloud announcement: "We do not want Deltacloud to be under the control of any one particular vendor, including Red Hat. If you want true interoperability and true portability, you need a third-party governance structure."

On the other end of the spectrum are vendors such as Eucalyptus that have decided to adopt Amazon EC2's APIs. Marten Mickos, Eucalyptus's CEO, explains: "We believe the Amazon API is becoming the industry standard, and that many companies will follow it."

Choosing de facto standards vs. open standards

Deltacloud's success as the standard for controlling cloud operations is far from guaranteed. By the same token, Amazon's EC2 API remaining the de facto standard is also not guaranteed as cloud usage shifts from early adopters to the mainstream enterprise market. Enterprises have been increasingly educated to demand open standards for which multiple implementations exist.

IT decision-makers must weigh the short-term benefit of adopting a cloud-specific API, such as Amazon's EC2 API, versus the long-term benefit of a cloud agnostic API such as Deltacloud.

Follow me on Twitter at SavioRodrigues. I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."

This article, "The vendor-neutral cloud: How Red Hat could make it happen," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Rodrigues et al.'s Open Sources blog and follow the latest developments in open source at InfoWorld.com.

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