Although the cloud service offerings present a simplistic view of computing services to

consumers, there are few critical issues to consider while moving into cloud. As already

discussed, the prime challenges among these are the challenges associated with information

security, privacy and compliance. The other vital challenges are related to issues of:

■ Portability and

■ Interoperability

These two issues arise while moving a system into cloud. The primary concerns during such

initiatives are whether the system components are portable into a new environment or not.

And then, there are concerns about the interoperability of the components of the existing

system too.


Cloud Computing

Users may want to move their existing systems (applications and data) to some other cloud

service that meet their requirements better or for some other reason. But vendor-lock-in may

stand as a barrier in the process. Moreover, the cloud computing is in its early age and that’s

why, probably, the technocrats are thinking about its further developments in the potability and

interoperability arena. This chapter explores various aspects of these two issues and discusses

how to overcome these barriers in the process of cloud adoption.

18.1.1 Portability

Portability is about the ability to move an entity from one system to another without

compromising its usability. In computing, portability can be described as the ability of moving

one component from one technological or architectural platform to another. The ported

component should remain operational at its full ability.

In cloud computing perspective, portability is about the ability of moving some computing

constituent (like virtual machine, development environment or application) from one

environment to another. Portability concerns are highest when these two environments are

from two different vendors. It is important to note that portability issues at different layers of

cloud services are not similar.

Portability is the ability to run components or systems developed for one cloud provider’s

environment on some other cloud provider’s environment.

18.1.2 Interoperability

In general sense, interoperability is referred as a measure of the degree to which dissimilar

systems or components can work together successfully. In computing, interoperability can be

described as the ability of two or more systems or applications to communicate by exchanging

information and deliver expected outcome by processing those exchanged information.

In the cloud computing perspective, interoperability is about communicating between

multiple clouds. Clouds can be of different deployments (public, private and hybrid) and/or

from different vendors. Diverse systems should be able to understand one another in terms

of application, data formats, configurations, service interfaces etc. Only then they will be able

to cooperate and interoperate with each other. Like portability, in interoperability too, issues

related to different layers of cloud services are not similar.

Interoperability means being able to seamlessly exchange data or information between

systems running in different cloud environments. Interoperability is an enabler for portability.


It may seem that the problems of portability and interoperability are new to cloud computing.

But the truth is that these problems were present during the earlier days of computing also.

Since, the traditional computing environment was much more constrained, there was little 309

Portability and Interoperability Issues

scope to deal with these issues. But still few fruitful efforts had been made to address it. In this

context, one remarkable development that comes in mind is that the evolution of java platform

which could provide application portability.

Unlike in traditional computing, cloud computing customers need not procure any

computing facility. They can avail everything on rent which is economical and does not

require one time large investment. This provides the option for moving from one cloud service

to another.

In traditional computing, it used to take huge investment to build computing infrastructure.

Hence, porting of existing systems or applications over some new infrastructure was never an

easy decision. Once a setup is created, the customers have little options to change anything.

They can do nothing other than continuing with old setup. Otherwise, everything has to be

built almost from scratch that is expensive.

Interoperability has always been a need of the computing world. But the issue was overlooked

earlier as almost all of the applications used to run in isolation. The need of interoperability

mainly emerged with advancements in the field of enterprise applications and it has become a

necessity now when enterprises are going to opt for multiple applications from different vendors

to run their businesses. Consumers can get maximum benefits when those applications can


There was limited opportunity for dealing with the issues of portability and interoperability in

traditional computing.

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