Cloud portability is the ability to move an application or data from one cloud service provider to another without the need to rewrite or restructure them. For cloud data portability, the information can be moved to another service provider without reentering it. On the other hand, cloud application portability also refers to transferring an application from an enterprise’s premises to a cloud provider’s.

Other interesting terms…

Read More about “Cloud Portability

Cloud portability relies on the concept of cloud interoperability or multiple cloud systems’ ability to share, understand, and use each other’s data.

Experts predict that the workload of 83% of organizations will be migrated to the cloud by the end of 2020. A crucial decision lies behind this movement: Which cloud provider should enterprises choose? There are several choices—Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, and Google, to name a few. But what happens when, after some time, enterprises decide to change their cloud service provider?

Changing from one cloud service provider to another should not cause any significant overhaul in an ideal world. But the reality is that this move would somehow require much work. It’s similar to moving to a new house and bringing all your furniture with you, thinking that everything will fit. But you soon find that the couch is too oversized, the dining table takes up too much space in the kitchen, and the bed has to be taken apart so it can be moved into the upstairs bedroom.

Is Cloud Portability Necessary?

Cloud portability is not only a nice-to-have feature. Moving data or an application to another cloud service provider may render them unusable unless the code is rewritten, making cloud portability necessary. Without it, enterprises could spend more person-hours to migrate from cloud to cloud, or they could be forced to stay with a cloud provider even when it hinders their growth.

Imagine if your favorite online grocery store moves from Shopify to another cloud-based e-commerce platform. Without some level of cloud portability, this could result in a few days of downtime. 

Watch the video below to learn why cloud portability is essential.

To help address this issue, organizations, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), have developed cloud portability standards that should be followed by cloud providers. These standards relate to several areas, including:

  • Application interfaces
  • Terminology and concepts
  • File formats
  • Portability interfaces

Is Cloud Portability Possible?

Business-wise, keeping cloud portability in mind while developing applications and storing data is an intelligent decision. We can establish that cloud portability is necessary. But is it possible?

At present, the short answer could be “no.” Enterprise cloud users often do not have control over the feature. Cloud portability relies on the cloud service providers’ adherence to standards, and therein lies the challenge. The standards are relatively new. The IEEE Cloud Computing Standards have only been approved in January 2020. They could continue to evolve, and cloud providers may be in the wait-and-see phase to follow the standards. 

Another roadblock toward cloud portability is the native features that each cloud provider offers. Even when they follow standards, providers might provide unique features that give app developers additional resources. When enterprises use these provider-specific components, they would be locked in. Codes would need to be rewritten when the application is moved to another cloud provider.

Cloud portability may not be entirely possible at present, but the fact that multiple organizations are creating standards means that there is a clamor for it. In a few years, complete cloud portability might be achieved. After all, the first computer was far from portable as it weighed 30 tons and occupied 1,800 square feet. But today, you can carry a 10-inch laptop everywhere.