The Cloud, is it a platform or just more of the same?

I have been digging into the various “cloud” offerings on the net and trying to see if there is a common ground in this space and as usual it appears the usual players are making bets on their “cloud” offerings. When you start seeing sites like SalesForce.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, or API’s like Microsofts Azure, all using different technologies to provide applications within “their cloud” it quickly shows people are off in their own camps.   I have been reading up on the DeltaCloud (Many clouds. One API. No problem) which is attempting to solve this disparity with a wrapper approach. As long as you have a particular clouds “module” installed on the server, your code can connect to and participate in that cloud. The API’s seem to be very basic out of the gate but I think the direction is worth watching.  Amazon has a huge web presence and companies like Eucalyptus have even standardized on its API’s for their own back-end so it makes me wonder if there will be camps but not many camps in the end.

Using the same application programming interfaces (APIs) that Amazon deploys for its Amazon Web Services (AWS), Eucalyptus allows users to set up their own private clouds and move workloads among internal servers, or to and from AWS. The software is available both as free, open-source code and as a paid version. – PC World

Do we need the same for collaboration?  Open Social (Many sites, one API - sound familiar?) is suppose to fix that but it isn’t totally adopted by all players either.

A common API means you have less to learn to build for multiple websites. OpenSocial is currently being developed by a broad set of members of the web community. The ultimate goal is for any social website to be able to implement the API and host 3rd party social applications. – OpenSocial

If we really want a true cloud then there is going to have to be some level of common API, data model, and interfaces across the players otherwise developers and IT will be needed for the integration points.  As more and more stuff moves to the cloud you may see more and more job openings for “SalesForce.com developer” or “OpenSocial developer” or “AWS experience a plus”.

I think this is a frontier of opportunity for any IT person or developer – which is one of the reasons I love this industry.  It is forever changing and challenging.

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