Cloud computing, being adopted by enterprises across the world

Cloud computing is a platform wherein applications (be it documents, videos, presentations and databases) are offered as an internet-based service. It has been in development for almost a decade and now is being adopted by enterprises across the world. IT majors including IBM, Cisco, Google and Microsoft, are at the forefront of developing cloud platforms.
Microsoft’s Azure Services Platform is a cloud computing offering that provides a wide range of internet services that can be accessed from web. At Tech Ed 2009, ET met up with Vijay Rajagopalan, director-interoperability strategy, Microsoft, to discuss the maturity of the cloud, standards around cloud and more. Excerpts:

What is the level of maturity of cloud computing (in terms of adoption by enterprises)?
It is still evolving. Each organisation needs to do due diligence in reviewing their software assets like on-premise applications, customers/user impact, security, data privacy, data portability, application migration and operation efficacy before deciding to move to cloud-based services. Many enterprise buyers view Software as a Service (SaaS) products as a viable alternative to purchasing on-premise applications, yet there is confusion around differences between these two delivery models.

Cloud computing has attracted attention of enterprises as it helps cut costs. But if an enterprise were to work in a multi vendor cloud computing environment, would there be interoperability issues? How are these being tackled at the industry level?
One of Microsoft’s core principles around cloud interoperability is around the idea of providing users choice. The user should be able to pick and choose the service they want from different providers. Interoperability is a foundation here for everything to work well. This is possible because of the open and interoperable Azure Services platform (Microsoft’s cloud computing offering) is based on industry standards such as SOAP, REST, XML.

Since there are already several different cloud computing solutions (from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Cisco, IBM etc) customers should be able to move their data and applications easily from one to another. Are there common industry wide standards for cloud computing?
There are not many standards in this space yet. I am sure the cloud vendors will come together to put the user in control by enabling these consistent scenarios. Microsoft has an alliance program called “Interop Vendor Alliance” where we invite competitors and work on specific customer scenario involving interoperability and produce patterns; practices and guidance for customers.

Does Microsoft support the `open cloud manifesto’?
While it’s still very early to talk about elaborate technical standards for cloud
computing, establishing the conduits for the conversations and outlining a collaborative approach is critical. Projects like the DMTF (Distributed Management Task Force) incubator will develop requirements and use case scenarios to allow all users to better understand where standards for communication with cloud services can create the most value. We want to be open, collaborative and transparent about our efforts in the cloud standards space.

What does Microsoft’s collaboration with Real Dolmen mean for cloud computing?
Real Dolmen is the partner developing the PHP SDK (web application language) for Windows Azure. If you are an open source web developer, you can write an application and host it on the cloud.

BY ET Bureau

Copyright © 2009 Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved.



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