Sunday, February 8, 2009

CCIF Slashdotted: Meta-data in the cloud

A nice spike in traffic to the CCIF today thanks to our friends at F5 (Lori MacVittie) and Slashdot. In MacVittie's post she asks "Who owns application delivery meta-data in the cloud?" I found this statement particularly interesting, in it she says "There is a very real danger, however, that cloud interoperability and portability specifications will fail to address the very real need to include all the relevant application and network infrastructure meta-data necessary to move an application from one cloud to another."

This is exactly the problem we're trying to solve with the CCIF and our unified cloud interface working group. In this effort we are attempting to create an open semantic specification (taxonomy, ontology, etc) of the meta data models and control structures applied across multiple cloud & infrastructure providers.

For those new to the CCIF, the goal of our unified cloud interface (UCI) is simple, an API for other API's. A singular abstraction that can encompass the entire infrastructure stack as well as emerging cloud centric technologies through a unified interface. Although actually implementing this vision will be far more difficult.

I think the real question about cloud interoperability has more to do with portability and vendor lockin versus freedom from the confines of your traditional infrastructure. And, yes the two are not mutually exclusive. Whether it's internal or external, proprietary or open, for me the answer is choice. Interoperability gives the freedom to choose the best services, providers and applications regardless of technology or market adoption.

Don't get me wrong, cloud portability is nice and should be a focal point. But there is already a significant amount of work being done in this space, at least from a VM point of view. In particular is the work the Distributed Management Task Force and VMWare have being doing on the Open Virtual Format. I'd love to be able to take an OVF formatted virtual application and deploy it to Amazon EC2, GoGrid, Rackspace and Savvis and have it run & scale in the same way. But even with OVF, the question of how to uniformly interact with the "cloud" still remains. I think the broader opportunity for cloud interoperability and the CCIF isn't to create a new set of standards, but instead to advocate for those that have been created or like OVF, advocate for those that are in the midst of being adopted.

So who owns this meta data that describes the cloud resources? I say those who run their applications in the cloud do. As for who owns the data you put in the cloud? You do.

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