Friday, October 10, 2008

Thoughts on the Cloud API

I have seen quite a few diagrams on cloud computing but not something like the one below - (please tell me if you know of more and i'll update!).

You see what many leave out is that if you build your service on a third party service in the cloud and it closes down, you're screwed. Well, currently you are. You need to find a new provider, swap your data, change the api, modify your internal code. Which in simple terms, means your're screwed.

Now, it's not such a big deal if Amazon is your service (although this should still be a consideration) but if the POINT of all this open web stuff and open source and api's etc etc is to allow the little guy to provide services, then it IT a big deal. The little guy will just NOT get the trust for many businesses and it is a shame. Once their ideas are bought by a bigger company then they get exposure. But surely this is a shitty way to do things. Why not let the little guy in?

A good way for this to happen would be for the "cloud" (and in Scotland we have cloud computing every day of the year, with torrential rain computing thrown in) to support common (i hate saying standard!) API's. oAuth is arguably the most successful example of that to date (with PoCo to come), but OpenID is also another good example (oAuth is not used seamlessly by many a big company).

But surely we need to look at common API's for all services - or at least the service providers do. I want to use provider A today and provider B tomorrow. It should be a configuration change for the client (and a "swap provider" checkbox ;) ).

Internally however there should be a service provider data exchange API that allows swapping of data (and arguably hot swapping for back up - imagine service A and service B backing each other's data up whilst providing the same service!?). So when i ask to move, i can have all my data moved to the new provider (for a fee of course). Here's that API :

OK, so it's a little more complex than that, high level is a good place to start. I also like the idea of a higher level cloud API that provides common services for all kinds of cloud services. I know there has been lots of work on various SOAP style services at W3 and so on (transations, instrumentation etc) - not sure how this thinking all fits in with the cloud stuff but would love to hear/read about it.

1 comment:

Vince Stevenson said...

I keep hearing a lot about Cloud, but when is it going to happen, or has it already happened and I missed it? Rgds Vince