Open cloud frees vendor lock-in, levels playing field

As the debate between private and public clouds moves on to hybrid cloud adoption, a presumably more flexible form of cloud computing model, there is no denying that the fear of vendor lock-in persists, as most cloud services are still proprietary in nature.

On contrast, an open cloud provides the interoperability that will free companies from being locked in to a single cloud vendor. This in turn allows companies to select the vendor whose service level agreement matches most with their requirements.

In an interview with Asia Cloud Forum, Red Hat’s. APAC vice president Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen explains what an open cloud is, how an open cloud relates to the use of open source technologies, the common myths of open cloud, and what constitutes vendor lock-in in the context of cloud computing.

Open cloud & open source

In contrast with proprietary clouds, an open cloud adheres to open standards. According to Van Leeuwen, this allows for interoperability and portability of applications, computing, infrastructure services, development models, and data between various clouds.

As a result, open clouds reduce the issue businesses face of being ‘locked-in’ to a single cloud computing vendor, as they will be able to take their data and applications to another vendor’s cloud — without having to bear massive porting costs.

Open source software has played a major role in enabling cloud computing, according to Van Leeuwen. “This is because the vast majority of clouds are built using open source technologies for which source code is made available publicly and is free for other parties or developers to adopt.”

“Open cloud can be thought of as the ‘friendly cousin’ of open source, and thought of as a definition of explicit rights or freedoms, much like that in the open source definition,” he added.

2 forms of vendor lock-in

One major factor that hinders businesses from adopting cloud is the fear of vendor lock-in. This occurs when there is lack of interoperability between clouds — often caused by a lack of common interfaces, standard data formats or services that could guarantee application, data and service portability. As a result, companies are unable to operate using a variety of cloud service providers, which forces them to be ‘locked-in’ to a single vendor’s cloud stack.

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