Interoperability and Cloud Services

Interoperability in a general sense is the ability of an infrastructure to be able to connect and communicate with another structure without something translating, or restricting access. It is designed for a service to be formatted to allow cross-platform communication, in simpler terms. Word and Pages were not always interoperable, but rich text formatting was interoperable between the two. The ability for data to be moved from one format to another without a middle man is a key element. The other element for many service providers is access, if their product would be the dominant culture. The dominant cultural product would want to restrict certain information to maximize their products capabilities. So for something to be interoperable the data must be easily moved, and all of the data must be available; which is difficult for businesses to manage.

Each Cloud Service is going to want to showcase a unique product to their customer base. Essentially they will want to carve out a niche, if not become the primary provider; to do that they need to have a unique and powerful offering.

For a Cloud provider to be able to distinguish their service from others is paramount to be able to thrive in this new culture. With most new industries there is a relatively massive push and pull between different standards. Like the classic examples of Apple and Microsoft or even VHS and Betamax; this polar competition is a rough approximation to the standardization issues in interoperability of Cloud Services. In he Cloud world there is a much larger variety of services, even types of services, but the nitty-gritty of the issues is a need for a company to distinguish themselves amongst their competitors.

The vendor of a particular Cloud service may feel that they have a nifty offering, and they wouldn’t want to create an inferior product to meet an industry standard. Now if there ever is an industry standard, each company will have to decide if portability of offerings is necessary for them to compete with other services. They will be deciding between the particulars of their offering and the offerings needed to port from their competitors. But being able to move from a competitor also means the ability for their customers to move to one of their competitors. Not surprising the ability for your data, software, or platform to communicate and integrate with other services is the main difficulty with moving it. Portability is the ability to port or move your data from one system to another, not surprising the main issue with portability is interoperability. I am using data in a very general sense, it can mean literally the information stored on an Saas system, or the programs that are stored in a Paas system, for instance. The interoperability of your data wedges into this issue of porting information from one system to another. There are strides being made into interoperability, a growing desire from parts of the industry to have a standard to ease interoperability.

As a vendor of a Cloud service you have to consider whether you are utilizing the best practices as well as what is good for your company. Your company may be able to beat out competitors by having the best services provided and then the adoption of a standard set of services necessary for interoperability might cut down on the services offered. A company could end up giving a competitive edge over in search of complying to an industry standard. So, the need to be interoperable is not a task to consider lightly. There are many standardizations that would be good for a consumer but not necessarily for a vendor.

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