3 Considerations for Preventing Cloud Lock-in


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Creating “free” web services will require more than just making web services using AGPL licensed software. We’ll need trusted providers, protections around how data can be used and all the social aspects that the current web services have. We now have several free and open web services. Come hear what people are doing to define and create “free” web services.

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  • Generally speaking open source software works because of the standards or norms in the open source community. Very little control over the actions of the community but still the standards hold-up. This works for software because you can distribute the software.
  • Organizations in the open source community provide “governance” and advocacy for adherence to open standards. Open Source Initiative provides guidelines for open source license. Free Software Foundation governs the GPL and advocates “free” software.
  • The Cloud needs the same kind of freedoms but those relevant to the cloud. These freedoms include: Platform Freedom Data Freedom Tools Freedom
  • While Cloud Computing standards are emerging it’s important to make sure that you don’t sacrifice open standards for a little temporary convenience.
  • Numerous standards bodies and advocacy groups are emerging. DMTF has big corporate backing, open cloud manifesto advocate cloud standards but is more organic. Many others are forming and advocating similar though not identical things. No one’s standards can claim to be the the defacto standard.
  • If you take a DVD or CD and pop it into a drive by any manufacturer it works. The same portability should exist no matter what cloud platform you run your infrastructure on. There seems to be an emerging standard in Open Virtualization Format (OVF) being championed by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF). Even if the images are compatible across platforms their might be ancillary services that you may become dependent on like Amazon’s SQS or Google AppEngine’s Big Table
  • James Urquhart from Product Marketing Manager, Cloud Computing and Virtualized Data Centers at Cisco has shared his thoughts on this on his c|net blog. He outlines a complete Bill of Rights for Cloud Computing, the section on Data Rights is very good. While Data Lock-in is a concern it seems to be a problem that is tenable.
  • Tools that manage, monitor and manage clouds don’t always work across platforms. For example do your SNMP rules for your Amazon AMI transfer to your private cloud running Eucalyptus, etc. How do you update your tools to authenticate to a migrated instance.
  • 3 Considerations for Preventing Cloud Lock-in

    1. OSCON 2010 Presented by Mark R. Hinkle VP of Community www.zenoss.org [email_address] Twitter: @mrhinkle Three Considerations to Prevent Cloud Lock-in
    2. FLOSS Freedoms Prevent Software Lock-In <ul><li>The freedom to run the program for any purpose. </li></ul><ul><li>The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish. </li></ul><ul><li>The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor. </li></ul><ul><li>The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits. </li></ul>
    3. Organizations Dedicated to Ensuring Software Freedom and Standards
    4. FLOSS Freedoms Don’t Exactly Translate to Clouds <ul><li>In the cloud you need the following freedoms to prevent lock-in </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom to move from Platform to Platform </li></ul><ul><li>Access to your Data </li></ul><ul><li>Tools that that work for all clouds or are extensible to support new platforms </li></ul>
    5. Don’t Sacrifice Freedom for Convenience XKCD - http://xkcd.com/743/
    6. Organizations Dedicated to Cloud Freedoms
    7. Platform Lock-In <ul><li>No globally recognized standard for virtual machines. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Machine images can’t migrate seamlessly from VMware to Xen or from Amazon to Rackspace or other cloud providers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open Virtualization Format – Sounds good but not yet standard, or standardized upon </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Supported by VMware, Citrix Xen, Oracle Virtual Box, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Filesystem emulation varies by hypervisor and OVF doesn’t seem to require consistent filesystem emulation specs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ancillary services may or may not exist on other platforms (e.g. Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) or Google AppEngine (BigTable) </li></ul></ul>
    8. Data Lock-In <ul><li>Basic Rights Cloud Users Should Consider/Demand </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No vendor should claim ownership of the data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vendors always shall provide at a minimum an API (most often storage is via traditional block and file interfaces such as iSCSI or NFS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customers own their data, and the security/privacy of data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ideally, there would be a standard for a data store format or at least an accepted Infrastructure-as-a-Surface (IaaS) API that all vendors support. </li></ul>Paraphrased from The ‘Cloud Computing” Bill of Rights’ 2010 Edition By James Urquhart http://news.cnet.com/8301-19413_3-20006756-240.html
    9. Tools Lock-In <ul><li>User Tools must provision, configure and monitor all types of cloud infrastructure or at least be extensible to adapt to your cloud infrastructure: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If management interfaces and APIs are different they can be the least obvious gotcha (e.g. Messages from Amazon SQS, don’t exist in RackSpace Cloud) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can your build tools address different target architectures? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Configuration management tools function seamlessly across clouds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are migrated cloud instances still accessible to monitoring tools? </li></ul></ul>
    10. State of the Union <ul><li>Nascent Industry, things move fast </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of open APIs, but still no true cloud portability </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of proposed standards, no standardization </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you understand what you are getting into when you choose a cloud provider </li></ul>
    11. Once You’re Locked In, Getting Out Can get Messy
    12. Supplemental Reading <ul><li>DMTF Cloud Incubator | http://www.dmtf.org/about/cloud-incubator </li></ul><ul><li>VMware OVF | http://vmware.mobi/appliances/getting-started/learn/ovf.html </li></ul><ul><li>DMTF OVF Standard | http://www.dmtf.org/standards/published_documents/DSP0243_1.0.0.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Ars Technica | EMC's Atmos shutdown shows why cloud lock-in is still scary </li></ul><ul><li>Zenoss Blog | Three Cloud Lock-in Considerations </li></ul><ul><li>Storage Networking Industry Association | SNIA: Cloud Storage for Computing Whitepaper </li></ul><ul><li>Infoworld | Why Open Source Vendors Won’t Prevent Cloud Lock-in </li></ul><ul><li>National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) | Cloud Computing </li></ul><ul><li>Open Grid Forum </li></ul><ul><li>Oasis Identity in the Clouds Technical Committee </li></ul>