Cloud Abstraction and Integration Functions

Posted on August 12, 2014

The following is the third excerpt in a series of three from the whitepaper, Brokering Your Way to Cloud Computing Success. For more information on Cloud brokering strategy and philosophy and to receive the whitepaper, join the live webinar on Thursday, August 21: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/REGISTER/416594561

If you have not yet read the previous two posts, catch up on The Cloud: Problem and Solution and Cloud Brokering and Market Place Functions.

Cloud abstraction and integration capabilities are essential for establishing a multi-Cloud or hybrid Cloud environment whereby multiple Cloud provider services can be accessed in a unified manner, via a set of abstracted Cloud APIs. Cloud abstraction and integration help provide a common development environment for application developers to build Cloud-based applications using abstracted APIs, which eliminate the need to work with vendor-specific APIs. Applications developed using this abstracted API model will be loosely coupled to Cloud provider APIs, which will allow Cloud services to be swapped without breaking the functionality of the business application. This helps insulate applications from technology, service, and SLA changes on the provider side.

A key requirement of a Cloud broker is its ability to integrate multiple Cloud providers, and their respective Cloud services, into a service catalog such that the collection of cloud services is aggregated into an integrated master service catalog. This capability is used to establish a multi-Cloud or hybrid Cloud marketplace. This service aggregation function is a key attribute of Cloud brokers.

cloud-broker-webinar

Perhaps more critical is the abstraction capabilities of the broker to connect with multiple Cloud providers–both public and private–and allow their Cloud services to be accessed and consumed in a consistent way by developers without having to deal with the differences of providers and their respective Cloud management APIs. This functionality is referred to as a “Cloud abstraction layer.” The Cloud broker abstraction services will enable the developers to easily swap out backend Cloud services without disrupting front end applications based on functionality or price, in an arbitrage model. Cloud abstraction layers are developed and deployed to enable an enterprise to consume Cloud services from multiple Cloud service providers, irrespective of the differences in APIs used by provider to expose their Cloud services. The Cloud abstraction layer’s primary purpose is to abstract the API differences from various Cloud providers such that cloud solutions can be created in a multi-cloud environment.

A Cloud Broker platform essentially serves as the Cloud abstraction layer by virtue of integrating with multiple providers and private Cloud frameworks or stacks, thereby enabling a multi-Cloud environment to be established such that the provider APIs, although vastly different and incompatible, can be accessed in a common fashion via a Command Line Interface, management console, or user interface. There are many Cloud abstraction layers available in the Open Source community, as well as from Cloud vendors, such as Apache Libcloud, Apache Jclouds, Delta Cloud, and Simple Cloud. There are many others in this dynamic category of Cloud middleware technology.

It should also be noted that Cloud management platforms and technologies also offer the ability to implement a multi-Cloud abstraction layer in which vendor APIs are abstracted from consumers, enabling Cloud services to be consumed in a common orchestrated fashion without having to deal with provider-specific APIs and management consoles. Cloud abstraction layers, Cloud integration tools, and Cloud management platforms are converging in capabilities and functionality.

For more information on Cloud brokering strategy and philosophy, join the live webinar, Brokering Your Way to Cloud Computing Success, on Thursday, August 21:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/REGISTER/416594561