Cloud Migration Standards
Ever since cloud computing has seen mainstream adoption, the ability to migrate data between public or private clouds is becoming a key concern, especially due to the large size and the cost involved in the switch. The first question that comes to mind when discussing cloud migration is if there are any cloud standards that will ensure interoperability? This is because in the absence of such frameworks, the effort of translation or manual data transfer operations might exceed budgets, especially for large public clouds. Hence it is essential to understand if there are any interoperability standards that may help in the migration. Another key point is to understand the reasons behind a cloud migration whose assessment will justify such a shift.
We can say that cloud interoperability is still a topic under discussion by various cloud providers including HP, Red Hat, Rackspace, Citrix etc. The forum known as ‘OpenStack’ is promoting to build an open platform with open standards that various cloud providers can integrate in their systems making them more interoperable. The platform is backed by several players as seen in this list of supporting companies and many are hopeful that the cloud community will soon witness a complete set of standards along with guidelines to form an OpenStack certified cloud system. The standard is expected to cover all major components in the cloud including compute, networking, storage and OpenStack shared services running on standard hardware and providing an OpenStack dashboard. The custom user applications will run on top of this framework. This is collectively known as OpenStack cloud operating system that is easier to move between public and private cloud setups due to ease of interoperability.
Another organization that runs by the name of Open Data Centre Alliance (ODCA) is also working to formalize the a specifications set for enterprise ready cloud. They have released a virtual machine interoperability usage white paper that describes their suggestions with examples from a test bed which features several offerings in this proposal along with architecture diagrams. The paper concludes with the statement that, “A capability for VM interoperability is an important precondition to truly realize the oft expressed benefits of virtualized clouds, such as the ability to balance resources through fungible pools of resources, business continuity and load balancing by leveraging distributed publicly available resources, as well as demonstrable avoidance of lock in to a single Cloud Provider, platform or technology.”
There is a cost associated with cloud migration which becomes a significant factor in making a decision about this move. The key factors to consider include IT service reimplementation, data destruction and sanitization, developers resource training, user guidance, regulatory compliance, vendor lock-ins and portability. Hence it comes down to whether or not this shift is justified in terms of expenditure, downtime and future gain in the business. Ideally one should look into cloud systems can support at least one open standard to facilitate future migration.
By Salam UI Haq