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Overview of Cloud interoperability and portability

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Prerequisite : Cloud Computing

Nowadays, every organization/ business driving their digital transformation is increasingly moving towards cloud-based solutions. But suitable interoperability and portability is very essential. So in this article we will discuss about cloud interoperability and portability, its major categories, along with various scenarios where it is required and ending with challenges faced during this period. So let’s go a little bit deep into the concept to get an overview of this cloud interoperability and portability.

Interoperability :
It is defined as the capacity of at least two systems or applications to trade with data and utilize it. On the other hand, cloud interoperability is the capacity or extent at which one cloud service is connected with the other by trading data as per strategy to get results.

The two crucial components in Cloud interoperability are usability and connectivity, which are further divided into multiple layers.

  1. Behaviour
  2. Policy
  3. Semantic
  4. Syntactic
  5. Transport
  6. Portability

It is the process of transferring the data or an application from one framework to others, making it stay executable or usable. Portability can be separated into two types: Cloud data portability and Cloud application portability.

  • Cloud data portability – 
    It is the capability of moving information from one cloud service to another and so on without expecting to re-enter the data.
  • Cloud application portability – 
    It is the capability of moving an application from one cloud service to another or between a client’s  environment and a cloud service.

Categories of Cloud Computing Interoperability and portability :
The Cloud portability and interoperability can be divided into –

  • Data Portability
  • Platform Interoperability
  • Application Portability
  • Management Interoperability
  • Platform Portability
  • Application Interoperability  
  • Publication and Acquisition Interoperability
  1. Data Portability – 
    Data portability, which is also termed as cloud portability, refers to the transfer of data from one source to another source or from one service to another service, i.e. from one application to another application or it may be from one cloud service to another cloud service in the aim of providing a better service to the customer without affecting it’s usability. Moreover, it makes the cloud migration process more easier.
  2. Application Portability – 
    It enables re-use of various application components in different cloud PaaS services. If the components are independent in their cloud service provider, then application portability can be a difficult task for the enterprise. But if components are not platform specific, porting to another platform is easy and effortless.
  3. Platform Portability –
    There are two types of platform portability- platform source portability and machine image portability. In the case of platform source portability, e.g. UNIX OS, which is mostly written in C language, can be implemented by re-compiling on various different hardware and re-writing sections that are hardware-dependent which are not coded in C. Machine image portability binds application with platform by porting the resulting bundle which requires standard program representation.
  4. Application Interoperability – 
    It is the interoperability between deployed components of an application deployed in a system. Generally, applications that are built on the basis of design principles show better interoperability than those which are not.
  5. Platform Interoperability –
    It is the interoperability between deployed components of platforms deployed in a system. It is an important aspect, as application interoperability can’t be achieved without platform interoperability.
  6. Management Interoperability – 
    Here, the Cloud services like SaaS, PaaS or IaaS and applications related to self-service are assessed. It would be pre-dominant as Cloud services are allowing enterprises to work-in-house and eradicate dependency from third parties.
  7. Publication and Acquisition Interoperability –
    Generally, it is the interoperability between various platforms like PaaS services and the online marketplace.

The below figure represents an overview of Cloud interoperability and portability :


Major Scenarios where interoperability and portability is required  :
Cloud Standards Custom Council (CSCC) has identified some of the basic scenarios where portability and interoperability is required.

  • Switching between cloud service providers –
    The customer wants to transfer data or applications from Cloud 1 to Cloud 2.
  • Using multiple cloud service providers- 
    The client may subscribe to the same or different services e.g. Cloud 1 and 2.
  • Directly linked cloud services- 
    The customer can use the service by linking to Cloud 1 and Cloud 3.
  • Hybrid Cloud configuration- 
    Here the customer connects with a legacy system not in a public, but, private cloud, i.e. Cloud 1, which is then connected to public cloud services i.e. Cloud 3.
  • Cloud Migration- 
    Clients migrate to one or more in-house applications to Cloud 1.

Challenges faced in Cloud Portability and Interoperability :

  • If we move the application to another cloud, then, naturally, data is also moved. And for some businesses, data is very crucial. But unfortunately, most cloud service providers charge a small amount of money to get the data into the cloud.
  • The degree of mobility of data can also act as an obstacle. Moving data from one cloud to another cloud, the capability of moving workload from one host to another should also be accessed.
  • Interoperability should not be left out, otherwise data migration can be highly affected. So the functioning of all components and applications should be ensured.
  • As data is highly important in business, the safety of customer’s data should be ensured.

Cloud interoperability eradicates the complex parts by providing custom interfaces. Moving from one framework can be conceivable with a container service which improves scalability. Having a few hurdles, adaptability to change in service providers, better assistance in cloud clients will enhance the improvement of cloud interoperability.

Last Updated : 16 Jun, 2021
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