Today, the cloud is not standardised. Companies operate in the cloud under different criteria. Basically, they all do their own thing without regard to what their competitors or other related companies do. Is this an effective strategy or does this lack of standardisation adversely affect the end user? If so, what can be done to streamline and harmonise the activities of cloud vendors?
Presently, we are seeing a plethora of cloud based vendors offering a variety of services ranging from financial management services, video applications, data storage and archiving, email hosting, and many other services. The cloud also allows businesses and individuals to have a virtual office, sharing and storing documents in a cost effective and time efficient manner. This is a boon for anyone wanting to do business more efficiently and cost effectively. However, cloud based vendors currently operate in a vacuum, and as a result, there are some challenges inherent in cloud computing that could be positively affected if the industry was standardised.
For example, portability, moving data from one cloud vendor to another or sharing data between cloud companies is a major impediment to more effective cloud computing. Terminating an agreement with one cloud company and moving one’s data to another vendor is another related problem. In some instances, sharing data between cloud companies has become a major issue for the end user. Such issues need to be addressed and rectified. Standardising the industry could provide a possible solution to this problem and could also have the effect of making cloud collaboration easier. Standardisation would also have the added benefit of attracting more customers to cloud based companies who would feel more confident doing business in the cloud.
Standard service agreements could also be worked out in the industry for the benefit of the end user. These agreements would ensure a seamless service, allowing the user to easily compare technologies. Data can also be migrated from cloud to cloud and files can be shared easily. In addition, as standardisation is adopted, cloud services will be able to support multi-platform technologies by default, including the latest operating systems, mobile devices, and more.
Industry wide standards could be adopted regarding these issues and could be spelled out in their service level agreements. This would ultimately benefit both the end user and the cloud computing industry.
There is a growing awareness that standardisation could lead to a more efficient and productive cloud computing industry. In fact, there are a variety of organisations that are leading the charge to standardisation. However, a lack of a cohesive strategy to standardise the industry puts it at a disadvantage. The sooner the industry addresses this issue, the better.