To be interoperable means to imbue the common abilities of mobility to cloud service instances, to extract all service instance described by a common representation, to share all cloud service instance related data in and out of providers and to allow cloud service instances work together.
To bring interoperability, it must be present at the lowest level of the cloud stack and so IaaS should firstly be the target, with those interoperability capabilities offered to the upper layer of PaaS where lock-in is even more prevalent. To execute upon this, standard specifications need to be agreed upon by both research and industrial domains. In essence this means, in the context of IaaS, to agree upon standardised ways to import and export IaaS customer deployments, to interface with those deployments in a common way during their lifecycle and runtime and to have access to the data supplied and generated and in creating that deployment. These three types of standards must cooperate and integrate as there is no one SDO that can capture research and industry interest and supply the relevant skills all as one. In terms of the IaaS domain this specifically means:
- Standardised specifications for the import and export of virtualised infrastructure service instances
- Standardised runtime specification to allow the run-time and life cycle management of virtualised infrastructure service instances
- Standardised data access, import and export capabilities to the data that created and was generated by the virtualised service instances
There are many challenges to cloud computing but one core to enabling further value is the removal of lock-in and enabling of interoperability between cloud services. Typical approaches to providing interoperability include setting standards through standards defining organisations such as DMTF, OGF, SNIA. The other approach is providing software tool kits and frameworks such as jClouds, Apache libcloud and fog.io that provide abstract programmatic APIs who’s implementation carries out the semantic and syntactical mapping from the abstract interface to the target cloud service provider’s interface. Where as both approaches provide some uniformity to operating with cloud services, they do not cover other life cycle aspects. One area of investigation within the ICCLab is how to relocate services using one of the two (or potentially both).
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