Cloud API Standardization – It’s Time to Get Serious

UPDATE 6/2

Given the recent losses by Oracle vs. Google in their copyright Java farce it looks like using the AWS APIs as a standard for the industry could actually work. Anybody want to take the lead and set up a Cloud API standards body and publish an AWS-compatible API spec for everybody to use??

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Okay – this is easy… or is it?

Lots of people continue to perpetuate the idea that the AWS APIs are a de facto standard, so we should just all move on about it.  At the same time, everybody seems to acknowledge the fact that Amazon has never ever indicated that they want to be a true standard.  Are we reallyIn fact, they have played quite the coy game and kept silent luring potential competitors into a false sense of complacency.

Amazon has licensed their APIs to Eucalyptus under what I and others broadly assume to be a a hard and fast restriction to the enterprise private cloud market. I would not be surprised to learn that the restrictions went further – perhaps prohibiting Eucalyptus from offering any other API or claiming compatibility with other clouds.

Amazon Has ZERO Interest in Making This Easy

Make no mistake – Amazon cares deeply about who uses their APIs and for what purpose.  They use silence as a way to freeze the entire market.  If they licensed it freely and put the API into an independent governance body, we’d be done.  But why would they ever do this and enable easy portability to other public cloud providers?  You’re right – they wouldn’t. If Amazon came out and told everybody to bugger off, we’d also be done – or at least unstuck from the current stupidly wishful thinking that permeates this discussion.  Amazon likes us acting like the deer-in-the-headlights losers we all seem to be. Why? Because this waiting robs us of our will and initiative.

It’s Time to Create A Cloud API Standard

Do I know what this is or should be? Nope. Could be OpenStack API. It won’t be vCloud API. It doesn’t freaking matter. Some group of smart cloud platform providers out there should just define, publish, freely licence and fully implement a new standard cloud API.

DO NOT CREATE A CLOUD API STANDARDS ORG OR COMMITTEE. Just go do it, publish it under Creative Commons, commit to it and go. License it under Apache. And AFTER it gets adopted and there’s some need for governance going forward, then create a governance model (or just throw it under Apache). Then every tool or system that needs to access APIs has to only do it twice. Once for Amazon and once for the true standard.

Even give it a branding value like Intel Inside and make it an evaluation criteria in bids and RFPs. I don’t care – just stop treating AWS API as anything other than a tightly controlled proprietary API by the dominant cloud provider that you should NOT USE EVER (once there is a standard).

Take it one step forward – publish a library to translate the Standard API to AWS under an Apache license and get people to not even code AWS API into their tools.  We need to isolate AWS API behind a standard API wall.  Forever.

Then, and only then, perhaps we can get customers together and get them to force Amazon to change to the standard (which they will do if they are losing enough business but only then).

11 thoughts on “Cloud API Standardization – It’s Time to Get Serious

  1. Why would Amazon be losing business? They would simply create an adapter for the open standards based API that would talk to AWS, to give the ones who need it an inevitably crippled, but “universally compatible” service, running atop of AWS.nnWant portability? Sure, no problem – talk to us using the universal open API. Want better features instead? Use AWS APIs.nnAm I missing something?

    • Your “inevitably crippled” comment makes the point. u00a0If the market wants AWS to fully support the open standard and they don’t it might start costing them business. u00a0It won’t be noticeable right away, but it could happen especially if the buyers start to get more market power.

      • I don’t think Amazon’s implementation of the Open API would be crippled by itself. It would simply appear as such in contrast with what you could do with AWS.nnAmazon has full control of the AWS functionality, and innovates furiously. Anything ran by a community (of companies/people, likely with some potentially conflicting interests), on the other hand, would not be able to move too fast. Also, Amazon will always be able to watch the open standard development and make sure that *their* implementation of that open standard provides best possible user experience to those who will choose to consume AWS via open API.nnI’m not saying it’s impossible – *if* the open API hits the right balance of features and functionality to define something that can be then become a true “utility compute” (and, more importantly, accepted and adopted as such by users), then there is a chance. It may create something in comparison with which the AWS with all its features would be an “overkill”, and potentially overpriced. Maybe.nnI’m somewhat sceptical about the feasibility of this, however – IaaS is a complex beast and reaching an agreement on what functionality/features need to be “in” and what “out” may prove to be not such an easy thing.

  2. cloudadmins.org has a recent POST about Interoperability. Is OCCI what are we waiting for?nhttp://www.cloudadmins.org/2012/05/interoperability-in-the-cloud/nnOCCI is a Protocol and API for all kinds of Management tasks. OCCI was originally initiated to create a remote management API for IaaS model based Services, allowing for the development of interoperable tools for common tasks including deployment, autonomic scaling and monitoring. It has since evolved into a flexible API with a strong focus on integration, portability, interoperability and innovation while still offering a high degree of extensibility. The current release of the Open Cloud Computing Interface is suitable to serve many other models in addition to IaaS, including e.g. PaaS and SaaS.

    • jean-pierre laisne says:

      CompatibleOne Teamu00a0 200% agrees with this. OCCI is open, flexible, evolving thanks to contributions. It provides us both power and flexibility.u00a0 And to create our own model to construct interoperability with any type of services. And to develop a pure open source platform for automated provision, distribution, integration of cloud services on any heterogeneous Cloud Service Providers. Have a lot tou00a0 http://www.compatibleone.org/ and you’ll understand why we like it.

  3. Beth Cohen says:

    Agree completing with this statement.u00a0 Amazon is the roach model of the cloud platform services world.u00a0 As long as they can hold on to their virtual monopoly, ala Microsoft before them, they will continue to behave this this way.u00a0 This is one of their many barriers to leaving..

  4. Lara Jackson says:

    I am the one who just introduced with cloud computing. So its useful information for me as I am completely unaware about Cloud API and its related things.

  5. Great read! I’m not updated with the Oracle-Google Java fiasco. Has Oracle submitted an appeal for this case?

  6. Lokesh Dubey says:

    Guess this is it.

    http://deltacloud.apache.org/

  7. Lokesh Dubey says:

    I would agree could be done in a whole better and different way all together!

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