Cloud Computing is getting a fair share of technology news these days. In a nutshell it is a way of providing and/or using remote computing resources through internet. The business model is evolving but one way or the other the end users pay for the usage of the resources instead of purchasing additional equipment. This is of interest to the hardware vendors as they would be able to sell their products as a service, which means a constant flow of money, albeit in smaller chunks than selling hardware outright. Their vision is that they can then control the deployment of new hardware and not rely on the end users to make hardware purchasing decisions directly. To make this work, and to make it work seamlessly, layers of software is needed on the end-user side and on the remote resources.
Like many other technology advances, in the first phase the cloud computing vendors needed to provide the pieces since there was not much else in place. As a result the current vendors each have their own solution that to a large extent is not compatible with others, making migration or multi-vendor configurations difficult or impossible.
Deltacloud, a new open source project within Red Hat, announced recently, is trying to solve that problem by providing a "cloud broker" that would convert the communications between the consumer end and the cloud end of one vendor to another, making the interoperability possible (see the diagram). There goal is to enable an ecosystem of developers, tools, scripts, and applications which can interoperate across the public and private clouds.
While Deltacloud is a young project and more than likely will face other competing products, the problem that it is attaching, the interoperability, is a major requirement for users, developers, and IT departments if the cloud computing is to grow rapidly. Eventually, there will be a very small number of (or ideally just one) standardized means of connecting to the cloud services (also referred to as API or Application Programming Interface), but in the meanwhile, this translation layer is the next step before the standardization of APIs.
To a large extent, after it is all said and done, to the end users, this will be transparent and invisible. At the end the average user is interested in the end-services that can increase their efficiency and productivity. The lower total cost of ownership has been the primary selling point of cloud computing. But the low cost has been the norm and not a new trend. In my opinion cloud computing needs a killer application to become a difference maker, otherwise it will remain as yet another step in the ever evolving technology quest.And that is how I see it ...