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.

Popular cloud computing services: the PaaS (Platform as a Service)

One model for many developing companies, particularly those who are developing new software is Paas.  Paas or Platform as a Service is somewhere in between Iaas and Saas services because while it is not as restrictive as Saas it also is not as flexible as Iaas.  Paas lets the customer scale their operations according to their growth, and helps with development by having a consistent platform for a group of developers.

One use for Paas is for developing programs from multiple remote videos xxx locations, because its services streamline the programing side.  By standardizing the available products or tricks in the bag, multiple people can remotely add to the programs being designed by the engineers without stepping on each others toes.  It is often used by companies that offer specialized services to other companies.  A company offering these services will often rent a cloud platform that gives them tools to then design programs for other companies to use.  The service is the platform like a Windows or Mac platform, except not as simple and customized by the Cloud providers themselves.

Paas is a convenient tool for developers and others who wish to coordinate their projects onto interpretable software.  A developer of some sort often needs to be working in the same language as their coworkers, to be able to integrate their particular designs with each other.  And for many companies that have developers working remotely this helps keep their work on the same level.  Paas works for other types of structures as well, a company that provides a software service to other companies may use Paas system to supplement their own servers.  The cloud is often used as a way for start-ups to avoid many of the costs associated with owning a server.  Paas is often a ‘pay as you go’ platform, meaning you can pay as your need arises.  If you need to rent more space you can pay according to your needs.  This helps young start-ups get costs associated with initial investments down.  Though by no means is a Paas provider limited to a start-up as their customer base.  A more developed company might want to use a Paas system to streamline operations.

Though the customer base for Paas is generally designers who offer applications for consumption, the advantage to using a platform specific Cloud service is that the customer can write all the code, and not be tied down to creating up the entire infrastructure of Iaas.  Saas services just wouldn’t work for developers.  The platform provided by the cloud services frees the developers up to work on more necessary tasks.

Paas customers can be varied, not limited to software developers alone.  A Paas provider might simplify their platform to provide more basic services that allow a company to have many built-in features.  While Saas and Iaas have elements of this, Paas is more variable in what it offers from provider to provider.  The Paas system is not as simple as a Saas system or an Iaas system.  The Iaas systems tend to be more hardware oriented, where the platform and software are already developed; in this way it is generally utilized by companies that already have a product to push out.  The Paas while solely for developing companies enables a developer to utilize the Cloud offering at all ends of their development process.

Paas in this way really enables new ideas and new developments in the tech world. Essentially keeping an application or web developer set from the beginning to the end. Though as the company grows they may want to consider hosting their own servers or depending on their needs renting out an Iaas host down the road.  But having the availability of the Paas enables young companies to begin and sell their products by saving them from hardware and various software development tools needed to really make excellent products.

Popular cloud computing services: the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

A popular type of Cloud service these days is Iaas. It is a means of keeping costs down in the flexible area of hardware needs.  Iaas or Infrastructure as a Service is designed around providing a user with the available hardware to host whatever project needs hosting.

The best way to think about this is you are paying for the use of a network like you would a tax on infrastructure.  One day you may have to use the subway, another day the roads, and then some days you have five trucks and a subway car on the infrastructure.  Infrastructure as a service gives you real or virtual hardware that you can upload your information to.  Your programs or the users of your webpage go through the infrastructure of the Cloud host.  The host gives you the availability of storage and memory that scales according to your needs, but you have to build the project from the ground up to make use of the available infrastructure.

Getting down to basics allows the customer or the company renting out the Cloud service to scale their operations according to their needs.  For some the question may be why go through the extra effort to provide your own platform.  The scale of your operation when you rent out virtual room in the Iaas system is more flexible this way.  While Paas offers more software services to the customer, the open nature of Iaas gives a more established flexibility to create their own services with the hardware rented out.  The provider has the hardware, whatever particular hardware services they are offering, and the customer rents it out to keep costs down.  Any large database needs to be kept in a cool dry environment, and this amongst other things drives costs up especially for a project with variable memory needs.

Many services are virtual server space, network connections, bandwidth, IP addresses and load balancers.  Like Saas and Paas, Iaas is accessed by a client through the internet.  The Cloud in general is essentially an Application or a Web page that accesses the server through the internet and creates available storage for the user. The provider is able to keep their own costs down by letting the customer base make decisions on what type of platform or software to install on their hardware.  In turn, everything works seamlessly together. The hardware of an Iaas provider is often stored in many different facilities, allowing them to provide a product of scale.  Basically they can rent out their hardware to other users and by having a large facility or facilities they are able to keep costs down that are passed on to the customer.

The customer does not have to rent out their own facility this way.  By not having to maintain their own facility they are able to scale their operation according to peak and low traffic times.  For instance a weight loss website might want to rent out from an Iaas or Paas provider to keep costs down during  lulls in business.  But after New Years they might acquire a lot of customers that providing for would be a huge expense the rest of year.

Between Iaas and Paas providers the user has to decide what type of operation needs they have.  For a developer Paas might be the way to go, but for a more established company, or a company that has a product in line for their users a Iaas provider will be able to give them the hardware they might need at a scalable rate meeting their needs as it is needed.  Time, money, efficiency and ease of use are important factors in any business and tuning into the correct providers is the way to go.