Cloud Computing represents a major paradigm shift in the way that we consume ICT services. The significant potential for increased flexibility and savings brought about by the elasticity and scalability of Cloud Computing open new horizons and opportunities for the development of ICT services.
However, Cloud computing in all its forms also provides a high risk of re-introducing lock-in, both via commercial contractual practice or through technical proprietary interfaces. Vigilance in the use and communication of best practice in procurement in the use of Open Standards is but one practical step that can be supported.
Key to an Open Cloud market is a common framework for all to operate within, on an equal footing, removing barriers to entry or cross-border growth, and encouraging entrepreneurial development. Ensuring a level-playing field in the marketplace is essential to reaping the full benefits of competition and innovation.
Equally an open culture in adoption of Cloud can only be built on an open infrastructure that allows full interoperability and portability of data. Lock-ins to past single supplier solutions have not only proved costly to public procurements, but have demonstrably limited the ability to innovate in the future.
Open Cloud Computing relies on:
- Taking customer needs into account as a major driver, not just the technical needs of cloud providers;
- Open collaboration between all stakeholders, transparency and good governance throughout the value chain;
- Cloud providers committing to relevant existing standards where appropriate. When certification is implemented it must draw on global standards as reference points and be technology and business model neutral;
- Cloud providers not using their market position to lock customers into their particular platforms and limit customer choice of providers;
- Governments making use of their market position as purchasers to promote competition and openness around Cloud solutions and refrain from restricting choice of cloud solutions through mandatory requirements such as location of data centres, specific contract terms, unique certification requirements or codes. They should maximise the competitive opportunity for all suppliers.