I just came across this blog post from Tim Bray, which gives some good insider-perspective on what Sun’s got building for a cloud offering. I’m intrigued:
- It’s not a hosted-application-cloud, it’s a real, honest-to-goodness IT virtual datacenter cloud a-la Amazon EC2.
- They’re developing an open api to control the thing. More on that later.
- The API is so open, you can join the project.
He’s also mentioned there’s a storage component, a computing component, powered by the Q-Layer technology that Sun acquired in January. Here’s a great YouTube clip of an interview with one of the Q-Layer principals. This is cool for the network admins in the crowd: a drag-and-drop browser based interface that allows you to build your virtual infrastructure graphically, similar to 3Tera.
What’s most interesting here is that, according to Tim, Sun’s REALLY getting the point here: open designs, open APIs. Creative Commons license on the API. This allows other virtual infrastructure providers to use the API for portability, so that you can build a cotrtol interface to manage multiple cloud infrastructures. The point, according to Tim, is “Zero Barrier to Exit.” No one wants vendor lock-in as a customer. Amazon has been somewhat aggressive in protecting their API IP, in the one case that someone has white-boxed it: Eucalyptus. With a common API, the portability barriers diminish, so that you’ll find most cloud-based ‘mission critical’ infrastructures spanning different offerings. Vendor lock-in means only one company gets that slice of the whole pie, where open barriers mean that one customer will likely pick two or more providers to minimize points of failure. That’s a truly positive development that will help the industry as a whole. I just signed up, and I’m looking forward to seeing how I can contribute.