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Cloud services target interoperability, data portability

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cloud computing? interoperability? data portability?

Interoperability and data portability issues, and not security, hamper the long-term adoption of cloud services according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). IEEE added that cloud providers could encourage customers by giving them more control over their own data and applications by offering better tools and a security guarantee.

Today, many public cloud networks are configured as closed systems and are not designed to interact with each other. The lack of integration between these networks makes it difficult for organizations to consolidate their IT systems in the cloud and experience productivity gains and cost savings. To overcome this challenge, industry standards must be developed to help cloud service providers design interoperable platforms and enable data portability.

"Security is certainly a very important consideration, but it's not what will inhibit further adoption," stated Alexander Pasik, CIO at IEEE. "To achieve the economies of scale that will make cloud computing successful, common platforms are needed to ensure users can easily navigate between services and applications regardless of where they're coming from and enable organizations to more cost-effectively transition their IT systems to a services-oriented model."

According to industry research firm IDC, revenue from public cloud computing services is expected to reach $55.5 billion by 2014, up from $16 billion in 2009. Cloud computing plays an important role in people's professional and personal lives by supporting a variety of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications used to store healthcare records, critical business documents, music and e-book purchases, social media content and more. However, lack of interoperability still presents challenges for organizations interested in consolidating a host of enterprise IT systems on the cloud.

"Security in the cloud is no different than security issues that impact on-premises networks. Organizations are not exposing themselves to greater security risks by moving data to the cloud. In fact, an organization's data is likely to be more secure in the cloud because the vendor is a technology specialist whose business model is built on data protection," said Elisa Bertino, IEEE fellow.

However, Steve O'Donnell, IEEE member argued, "There's a lack of enterprise tools that enable management of security and availability in the cloud in the same way as in a data center." He added, "Enterprises believe their own data centers are secure and available, and want to own the management of cloud security and availability rather than outsourcing it to a third party."

Alexander Pasik, a senior IEEE member suggested, "The vast majority of Americans have bank accounts because they know their money is safe. I see a similar type of guarantee, supported by private industry, being offered to users of cloud computing within the next 10 years."

"As more organizations migrate IT services and systems to the cloud as a result of improved interoperability and portability, the market will reach an economic tipping point. On average, it might cost an organization about $500 per user to manage an enterprise e-mail system in-house," added Pasik. "Compare that to the cost of running a cloud based enterprise e-mail service, which might be around $50 per user. That's a ten-fold economic impact that makes a strong business case for cloud technology. And it's removing a system from your network that isn't directly tied to most organizations' core competencies, so why commit resources to supporting it internally?"

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