Monday, February 10, 2014

Interoperability: A Much Needed Cloud Computing Focus



http://www.ichnet.org/

Cloud computing transitions information technology (IT) from being "systems of physically integrated hardware and software" to "systems of virtually integrated services". This transition makes interoperability the difference between the success and failure of IT deployments, especially in the Federal government.  Recent government IT failures like the healthcare portal roll out highlight this critical difference.

Leading specialists serving on the federal health IT committee have voice their concern about the lack of comprehensive interoperability. "I'm concerned that this program isn't focused on creating an inter-operable system that would allow unaffiliated systems to share medical information,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said in an emailed statement to Fox News.

Being a very young industry, universally adopted cloud computing standards do not currently exists. While de facto standards are being pushed by some major cloud providers, other industry groups have initiatives focused on developing more open approaches. For now, each cloud provider is free to deploy their own technological solutions, providing little if any visibility to their customers. They are free to use different data types, query languages and data storage techniques.

Cloud computing industry success is dependent on portability and interoperability. Customers must shun any dependence on a vendor specific technology. They must also circumvent constraints associated with using resources outside of a selected cloud vendor's infrastructure.

Interoperability Clearinghouse is working to address theses and many other interoperability related issues. Working as a non-profit organization, they are helping to advance the integration of both IT and communication infrastructures. It is a collaboration of industry standards groups, research and testing organizations, IT practitioners and solution providers. In today's internet-scale IT world, stovepipe designs that do not address interoperability will not lead to successful outcome.

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