The biggest problem that open source cloud must face these days is standardization, with the need for open formats and interfaces that can ensure agility and flexibility becoming more apparent as users and vendors of the cloud start to realize their importance.
As per usual, the ball is in the court of the developers and industry leaders, since they are the ones who have the ability to set industry-wide standards via open collaboration. They’ve already started, anyway, as initiatives like the Openstack project and Intel’s Open Data Center Alliance have already made headway.
What Defines an Open Cloud?
For a cloud to qualify as an open cloud, there should be interoperability and it should not discourage competition, nor should it restrict choice for users and vendors. Users, regardless of what system and device they use, must be able to come and go without any barriers to entry or exit.
At the base level, an open cloud must use Open Formats, where all formats used by the data and meta data must be represented in Open Standard formats. Additionally, it should also support Open Interfaces, where functionality is transparent via Open Standard interfaces.
Issues that need to be addressed when creating an open cloud
The first and foremost issue that needs to be addressed is getting to the point where the standards on formats and interfaces are open and emancipated from both vendor and platform. The standardization that is inherent in official cloud standards these days is still premature, as there hasn’t been much effort to provide a truly independent standard, with some of the big open source clouds actually incompatible and competing with each other.
A truly open standard can only emerge if developers coordinate with each other. And of course, any standard will be useless if there is no implementation, a combined effort between developers are crucial when defining an open cloud standard.
Hardware vendors are also needed, as they have the influence needed to encourage seamless interoperability between platforms and the end users’ choice of operating environments.
The Role that Open Source Technology Plays
In a truly open cloud, various open source technologies should be made available when trying to build the right solutions efficiently and to drive innovation. Among these are tools and software stacks, such as OSes, middleware, databases, web servers, hypervisors, and other open source software that have the capability to encourage interoperability.