To Crack The Cloud Lock-In Problem, Think Standards
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User Rank: Apprentice
12/6/2013 | 11:41:49 AM
Re: Vendors don't play along, until they have to.
Yes, short-sighted vendors won't play along but experienced vendors know that lock-in via their own de facto standard usually doesn't pay off in the long run. If the technology in question is significant/important, eventually their competitors will get together and standardize an alternative. If this alternative suceeds, their investment in their proprietary solution becomes a liability.

Also standards help to create markets; IBM made more money selling IP gear than they ever made selling SNA equipment even though the later was completely proprietary to IBM. To the extent that the lack of interoperability and portability is holding back the cloud computing market, vendors might be better off in abandoing their attempts to lock-in their customers in exchange for a smaller share of a much larger pie.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/6/2013 | 11:20:10 AM
Re: Standards bodies: irrelevant?
Yes, technology moves faster than standards bodies, but no one who knows what they are doing attempts to standardize an area that is changing rapidly. CAMP, which you mentioned, is an attempt to standardize the management of applications on a PaaS platform. There hasn't been any significant technological changes in this area for at least 5 years now - which is precisely why Rackspace, Red Hat, Oracle, et. al. decided to work on this particular problem.

As for speed, I would be surprised if CAMP weren't finished by early 2014 (February or March).
User Rank: Moderator
12/6/2013 | 10:23:55 AM
Standards bodies: irrelevant?
I agree with everyone who's pointing out that vendors aren't going to play along, and I would add a question about the relevance of "standards bodies" today, in an age where technology is moving so much faster than standards bodies can.  Can anyone actually name a standard created in the past five years that originated with a standards body?  When I think of cloud standards, I think of things like OAuth (Twitter) and SCIM (Google/Salesforce)... and I look at standards like CAMP and think: ain't going to happen.
User Rank: Author
12/6/2013 | 12:41:24 AM
Vendors don't play along, until they have to.
Why should vendors play along? They don't voluntarily. Dominant vendors don't adopt a standard as long as they have any hope of setting a defacto standard and getting the world to adopt its way of doing things. Amazon has almost done so, but let's not encourage more bad behavior.

Joe Weinman wrote knowledgably in this space about the Internet of Clouds, as well he might. He's the chair of the IEEE's Cloud Interoperability standard body.
User Rank: Strategist
12/5/2013 | 1:28:29 PM
Re: Why should vendors play along?
The problem is that they're still not big enough to get away with it. Sure, Amazon dominates the cloud market, but it's not an oligopoly. There are dozens of large alternatives and hundreds of smaller ones. Verizon, HP, Rackspace, CenturyLink, et. al. are more than happy to siphon off AWS and GCE customers by being more customer friendly.

Lorna Garey
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
12/5/2013 | 9:25:11 AM
Why should vendors play along?
It's clear why IT wants standards, and why hardware makers and established vendors like Microsoft tend to play (at least somewhat) nicely in the standards sandbox, even if they'd prefer not to.

But why should Amazon or Google want to make it possible for customers to easily and quickly shuttle workloads in and out of their clouds? Playing devil's advocate, that ability will put downward pressure on prices, like a cable customer who jumps between Verizon and Comcast every year or two to get new-customer deals, except at hyperspeed.

Why not be upfront and pursue lockin, if you're big enough to get away with it?

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