Ironic? Benioff and Maritz Talk Cloud Lock-In

Marc Benioff, Paul Maritz and Andy Jassy shared the stage at Web 2.0 to talk about the democratizing effect of the cloud: a fair word choice when discussing the underlying value proposition for cloud computing, but not necessarily when discussing their respective roles in it.

Today in Cloud

James Urquhart’s latest Cloud Computing Bill of Rights represents, I think, a very enlightened view of cloud computing, and one that more people need to consider. It’s easy to blame cloud providers for shortcomings or over-proprietary aspects of their offerings, but the reality is that customers have a lot of power. They have the power to secure their applications and data as much as possible on their end, thus relieving the entire burden from cloud providers. They also have the ability to vote with their feet if the potential lock-in of a given platform is too much. Cloud providers have their own responsibilities, for sure, but customers cannot be without any of their own.

How Much Integration Is Too Much in the Cloud?

If you’ve been following the data center hardware space for the past year, you might be under the impression that integrated stacks are the future of IT. But it doesn’t look like customers are buying into the promise of having just one throat to choke.

How Much Integration Is Too Much in the Cloud?

If you’ve been following the data center hardware space for the past year, you might be under the impression that integrated stacks are the future of IT. After all, Oracle’s purchase of Sun Microsystems was all about integration, and HP and Cisco appear locked in a death match over who is best equipped to handle your server, storage and networking needs. As IT spending ramps back up after the economic meltdown, however, it doesn’t look like customers are buying into the promise of having just one throat to choke.

Today in Cloud

Spurred by fleeting discussion about lock-in during Wednesday’s Bunker session, I’m putting together a piece about the current state of the cloud lock-in threat. Although it will be fleshed out in the finished product, the gist of my argument is that third-party brokers and APIs have mitigated the threat in terms of portability, but a lack of interoperability still leaves users locked into one provider per application — there can be no true best-of-breed cloud application environments. I think a question worth considering is what degree of interoperability is necessary, and whether standards or customer demand for openness are the best best for getting there. What role should (or can) open source software play?

Today in Cloud

The more predictions I read about what to expect in 2010, the less I expect to see much movement on the openness front within large companies. In cloud computing, for example, the emergence of hybrid clouds and cloud-enabled systems management software signal even more lock-in because hybrid clouds are almost uniformly single-vendor, and management tools favor that vendor in-house and, generally, Amazon Web Services in the cloud. These trends seem to fly in the face of the numerous efforts to make the cloud a truly open and interoperable environment via APIs, application packages, etc. Of course, this might all be perfectly acceptable to CIOs who would rather stick with what they know while trying something new.

Today in Cloud

Evans Data Corp.’s new Market Alert on developer opinions on cloud computing providers has me wondering just what the surveyees were thinking. Google’s dominance in the minds of these developers is a bit troubling, particularly in the areas of reliability and no-vendor-lock-in. It is Google that has had several notable outages over the past few months, including an App Engine failure in July. And Google’s Big Table certainly represents a greater of of lock-in than do the myriad standard databases available to use with EC2, for example. Google is a cloud leader, no doubt, but I never would have guessed it would be considered the leader, especially in the aforementioned areas.

Cloud Computing Can Sell, Vendors Are Learning

Even with the inaugural CloudWorld conference taking place Aug. 12-13, it was a relatively slow week in terms of vendor news (press announcements usually pour out of IDG shows, but this event was, well, different). However, the announcements that did emerge from San Francisco’s Moscone Center show that vendors are starting to understand how cloud computing will evolve and what types of offerings actually will sell.