Toward a unified cloud interface: challenges, experiences, directions, and proposal
Computing clouds have become an integral part of both the consumer and enterprise computing spaces. At present each cloud service provider expose their own interface and APIs. Utilizing compute clouds need to be performed via vendor-specific workfows. This heterogeneity locks-in cloud users to few or single vendors and drives up development, maintenance, and management costs when the need arises to use multiple or different clouds.
In this talk I will present: a) the specific challenges facing users of multiple clouds, b) experiences at IBM in trying to homogenize cloud interfaces and usages, c) an IBM internal proposal to create a uniform interface to clouds or cloud adapters and the assumptions it makes, and d) briefly compare our proposal to other such attempts, e.g., Apache libcloud and RedHat's DeltaCloud. The cloud adapters proposal stems from experience and provides a complete REST-based and language-based interface to "any" cloud.
An interesting aspect of our common interface is that it is neither the union nor the intersection of the features of the interfaces exposed by current prominent cloud providers; instead, it contains the features we believe are most useful without necessarily being constrained by what is available now.
I will briefly discuss our initial Research, and now going to production, design and implementation. Finally, I will present a novel approach of cloud-feature compensation which allows creation of cloud adapters that expose the common interface to a cloud by compensating for or by suppressing features not available or extra features exposed by the underlying cloud in question.
Dr. E. Michael Maximilien, (aka “max”) is a research staff member at IBM Research - Almaden in San Jose, California. Prior to joining IBM Research, Max spent ten years at IBM's Research Triangle Park, N.C., in software development and architecture. Max led various small- to medium-sized teams, designing and developing enterprise and embedded Java™ software; he is a founding member and contributor to three worldwide Java and UML industry standards. Max's primary research interests lie in distributed systems and software engineering for the Web; in particular, Web APIs and services, mashups, Web 2.0, cloud computing, SOA (service-oriented architecture), social software, and Agile methods and practices. His most recent research project at IBM Almaden resulted in an internal cross-cloud (public and private) management and scaling Web-based platform. Max is active participants and contributor to communities related to Ruby, Ruby on Rails, and Agile methods and practices, inside and outside of IBM. Reach Max via his Web site and blog.