To hear experts talk about it, the cloud is a free-for-all data love fest that will allow companies the ability to store their data in a virtual “everywhere” so that they will be able to access not only it but a multitude of apps at any time and in any place that they can get their hands on an Internet connection. Of course, all of this openness is only possible so long as companies are willing to buy into a particular provider’s version of the cloud, because it won’t work with any other providers, and it may not even be possible to move to another cloud provided by the same company.
In large part, this is because the cloud computing industry is still in its infancy, and there are a number of providers such as Microsoft and VMware that are competing for market share at the same time they try to partner with companies in the industry. The result is a strange mix of proprietary clouds and the development of projects like Openspace, an open-source community that is looking to standardize the ways in which clouds are run so that, ultimately, cloud data will be easily transferable between servers of any kind.
Right now, building a cloud of any kind is difficult, even with purchasable private cloud tools, and the development of an open-source platform that can cross product boundaries is several years off at best. Still, for a concept that espouses high-minded ideals about being open and available, it is crucial that the cloud receives the support it needs from providers in order to allow companies to use it not only store data, but migrate their data as they see fit.