Interclouding, Standards, and VMware’s Focus on Open PaaS Cloud Computing

Google started The Data Liberation Front31 at the urging of Vint Cerf. This is an engineering team at Google whose singular goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products. Google says,

We do this because we believe that you should be able to export any datathat you create in (or import into) a product. We help and consult other engineering teams within Google on how to ldquo;liberate ” their products. This is our mission statement:

Users should be able to control the data they store in any of Google’s products. Our team’s goal is to make it easier to move data in and out.

The statement is a recognition that data liberation, in the end, grows the business faster and larger than forcing customers into lock-up data silos. Cloud vendors, especially Google and VMware, noted that enterprises are very concerned with the portability of their applications—something that is often a concern or blocker for public PaaS offerings they are also rightly concerned about reliability, availability and security.

Amazon, too, has made available AWS Import/Export, which makes it easier to move data to and from Amazon S3 using portable storage devices for transport, with a maximum device capacity of 4TB. While this form of “sneaker-net” has been around since system engineers hand-carried floppy disks from one stand-alone PC to another, it’s much cheaper and more reliable than trying to send very large files over the Internet.

Still, it’s a stopgap measure at best. VMware’s PaaS will have a significant focus on enterprise-grade qualities—providing strong controls for privacy, identity, and authorization control, allowing applications to be extensions of those in the corporate datacenter.

VMware’s entries into this space focus on addressing this challenge and, with the company’s partners (described earlier), creating “Open PaaS” offerings:

Virtualization is about separating the logical view of server assets from the physical resources upon which they run. By severing the tentacles that crept in between traditional operating systems and hardware, it enables virtual machines with hardware independence and mobility (among many other capabilities). In similar fashion, a PaaS offering can be architected in a way that clearly separates layers and avoids the restrictions seen in many of today’s implementations.

Furthermore, the parts of a PaaS offering that the applications depend on (e.g. libraries, messaging, data access) can be built using open development frameworks and technologies with liberal licensing programs. Ultimately this makes it easier for an ecosystem of more compatible PaaS offerings to grow, providing choice for the developers and consumers of the applications.

Our initial open PaaS offerings focus on a particularly important choice . . . choice as to where you deploy and run your applications.

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