Last year Krishnan Subramanian, Principal Analyst at Rishidot Research, identified in his blog on Defining Federated Cloud Ecosystems the need for choice of cloud service providers beyond a handful to satisfy the world’s computing needs. With diverse services, a few more characteristics are important for Federated Cloud Ecosystems to thrive.

Krish defined Federated Cloud Ecosystem through the following characteristics:

  • Multitude of players – to ensure market vulnerability and monopoly does not develop in the system,
  • Heterogeneity of cloud platforms – as a necessity to avoid cascading failures,
  • Interoperability and Portability – to move workloads and data between different providers,
  • No vendor lock-in
  • Geographic distribution – to satisfy computing requirements of long tail regions and regulatory regimes.

With variety in providers, their capabilities and services, Federated Cloud Ecosystems also include the following characteristics:

  • Discoverability and Matching of cloud services: An ecosystem thrives when the users are able to quickly and efficiently use the capabilities offered by the ecosystem. With heterogeneity¬† of platforms and services offered by multitude of players, Federated Cloud Ecosystem needs mechanisms for organizing the information about providers, platforms and services to facilitate service discovery. The cloud service one uses depends an a variety of constraints – business, technological, integration effort, time to market, etc. Discovering services that match these needs enables users to design efficiencies in their cloud utilization.
  • Service Visibility: users should be able to get appropriate visibility into a cloud service to use the service effectively in their solution. As we build services over other services, events in the lower level service may have profound impact on the end user experience and with limited visibility on the lower level services, a user may find it difficult to predict, take corrective action and offer quality of service.

As new services and platforms support Federated Clouds, one would revise the definition to incorporate new learning and requirements. The above are based on my observations across different cloud delivery models. The move to cloud for any developer, ISV or Enterprise, is to derive efficiencies in their IT operations. By participating and using Federated Cloud Ecosystem, is a step towards realizing such efficiencies.

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