Jean-Pierre Laisné Interview

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Open Cloud = Open Standards + Open Source.

In an exclusive interview with OW2, Jean-Pierre Laisné, lead of CompatibleOne, talks about the developments taking place in the CompatibleOne project.

OW2: First of all, can you describe the most important objectives of the CompatibleOne project? 
JPL: Briefly we want to support interoperability, portability, and reversibility in cloud computing services for the benefit of users. These goals should be familiar to all those players in the open source community in the Cloud and the open standards community in the Cloud.

OW2: How did CompatibleOne become a collaborative project?
JPL: When we first entered the picture in 2010, OpenStack had just arrived while OpenNebula had already been on the scene for a while. So instead of competing with these projects we decided to collaborate by adding value to what the projects were already doing. We created a platform enabling consumers of cloud services and providers of cloud services to come together to the advantage of all parties.

OW2: What makes the CompatibleOne platform different from the other platforms?
JPL: The CompatibleOne platform is an automated provisioning and deployment platform independent of any underlying cloud services provider. As Gartner defines it, our platform is a Cloud Services Broker. We provide service inter-mediation between the consumers of cloud services and providers of cloud services. CompatibleOne puts consumers in a position where they can take advantage of the multiplicity of choices in terms of cloud service providers. Hence we avoid the risk of vendor lock-in. In addition, our arbitrage provides consumers with the best choices. In short, we enable integration of all types of cloud services coming from multiple sources.

OW2: With so many choices, how can you best serve consumers of cloud services?
JPL: If you look at the state of the art, the challenge is how to construct interoperability with cloud services. We have some standards, some libraries, some APIs, but nothing out of the box or off the shelf on interoperability. It is the same situation with portability where you would want to take someone’s workload and give it to someone else. That kind of work exchange is really difficult today, as it depends on the ability to work on the right level of services with the right kind of APIs.

OW2: What kind of standards do you think need to be put in place?
JPL: We are pushing for good standards. Having proper standards are very important for the market to grow. What we have today are de facto standards. Big organizations such as Amazon have little or no incentive in joining the open-standards community. Hopefully, this will change as a result of the light being shed on this issue by CompatibleOne, Aeolus and others. Their attitude might also change because of the pressure coming from sophisticated consumers who are demanding more interoperability and portability.

OW2: What do you think will happen?
JPL: We think interoperability and portability will be provided by cloud-service brokers who will construct the right interface, provide the right libraries, and establish the right protocol. As a result, we think open standards will eventually mature. Without interoperability and portability, cloud- service providers will continue to work in silos or remain in isolation within their own closed ecosystems. As a result, players in these ecosystems will still be linked to specific Intellectual Property Rights, based on a mix of patents and commercial contracts. That means that service providers will not be able to interconnect easily with other providers. So when people speak about the benefits of a utility model the reality is that we are not there yet.

OW2: Can you provide an example?
JPL: As an analogy, imagine a telephony system that cannot interconnect with other operators or exchange traffic. That is where we are at with cloud computing today. We have interoperability in silos and a new form of vendor lock-in.

OW2: How are you collaborating with players in the open source community?
JPL: We are collaborating with open source projects and standardization bodies working on interoperability and portability. Our collaboration is based on simple equation: Open Cloud = Open Standards + Open Source. 

OW2: Let's talk about this formula for collaboration. Can you be more specific about the collaborative process regarding open source projects?
JPL: We meet regularly with other projects to share ideas and eventually code. Last month, for example, we held discussions with DeltaCloud and as a result decided to build a DeltaCloud Procci.

OW2: Can you also walk us through the collaboration process for open standards?
JPL: OCCI is a good example. After deciding to use OCCI as our standard for architecture, we met the OGF OCCI working group at the Cloud Plugfest in Düsseldorf, Germany in February 2012. The feedback was so enthusiastic that we are now confident our work will be supported by OGF and the OCCI community and eventually be standardized. These people really know how to maintain and govern good and useful standards. We are also looking at other interesting open standards such as SNIA CDMI for CompatibleOne to provide Data as a Service. In addition, we are starting to implement an OGF WS-Agreement for SLA management.

OW2: Are you optimistic that CompatibleOne will succeed in its quest for interoperability and portability?
JPL: Very much so. We have a positive outlook and are confident that CompatibleOne will foster the development of truly open cloud computing ecosystems.

Jean-Pierre Laisné is vice-president of OW2 and co-founder of the OW2 Open Source Cloudware Initiative. Having worked professionally on open source since the early nineties, Jean-Pierre finds that today's Open Cloud represents a new and challenging paradigm.


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