Unified Models for the Cloud

Today, I came across several posts, starting with Lori MacVittie‘s post on “A Unified Model” where she talks about her dream to come up with a unified model across the layers of the cloud:

“If we could agree on a unified model to codify the meta-data necessary across the entire spectrum of application and network infrastructure services and then further agreed to standardize on a REST-based API we could, in fact, arrive at a point where the issue of cloud interoperability is resolved with little more than a URL rewrite.”

“If the model is consistent across cloud computing environments – public, private, hybrid, local, external, internal – much in the same way HTML is consistent across web applications, then the differentiation across providers becomes the services and processes that orchestrate those services into an efficient, fast, secure application delivery system. If the model is consistent then an application can be described in a consistent, unified way and the implementation of the policies required to support the application and its infrastructure needs (security, acceleration, QoS, optimization, data integration, backup, storage) remains the demesne of the cloud computing provider.

In this context, it is also interesting to read her older post “Cloud, Standard, and Pants” with an analogy to the problems women face in correlating the sizes across brands.

In the end she summarizes:

“We need to focus on the models, not the APIs, because it is the models that will provide the interoperability and portability desired both across and within cloud computing environments.

Great post. Echoing similar thoughts on the Cloud API standards, back in Septembr’09, in my post on “Do we need Cloud API Standards”, I argued that we need to have underlying models compatible before coming up with a standard (Unified API for example). As it stands, the models vary quite a bit and unless these are addressed, interoperability will not succeed.


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