When people hear the term “Open API” they tend to have different thoughts on what that means. Techopedia defines an open API as one that is publicly available for use and while the technical idea of an open API is this, the reality can be quite different. A lot of professionals in IT tend to swap around the terms “open” and “standards-based” as if they were interchangeable, but one does not necessarily mean the other. When something is defined as open, it only lets you know half the story. In order for us to find out the other half of the story, we have to delve a little deeper and ask the right questions. in the case of open data centers, there are a few things we need to know.
Is There Multi-Vendor Service Support?
For a data center to be truly “open” as we consider it, the data center should be able to be used by multiple different vendors. Vendor lock-in is a serious problem in the IT field since it limits the ability of certain software to interface with existing hardware of a different manufacturer type. Open data centers are more than just networking hubs and true openness in a data center must come with the ability of the user to choose any vendor. Only in such a case can the data center be described as open.
Is the Data Center Extensible?
The underlying information we’re trying to unearth here is whether the data center deals just with networking or whether it can also incorporate services from security or application delivery controllers. Extensibility of this level means that the data center becomes more than just a networking space but forges beyond that and offers users access to technology that would be useful for anyone utilizing the data center. Allowing for an extended interface also creates a much wider delivery of services supported by the single data center.
What Vendors Are Supported?
This seeks to reveal whether the data center is actually open or whether it’s proprietary to a handful of vendors. Knowing what vendors are present can help a company decide whether they want to lock themselves into a particular data center’s whims or whether that level of control is unacceptable. As Data Center Dynamics mentions, proprietary systems can be a result of vendor support or even their reputation, but in the grander scheme of things it might make more sense to retain the right to use whatever interfaces that suit what you’re trying to do as opposed to default to a proprietary system because it’s all that’s offered.
What Sort of Community Support is Present?
Open source always falls back to the community for support because it’s people who are working on the project in their free time. Because of this, the best ways to get feedback or report bugs and look for searches is through the community. For an open data center, the same applies, as the users of that particular data center would be the ones that are best suited to answering support questions. Thus a wider base of diverse users allows for much wider coverage of potential issues that may arise.
How is Cross-User Interfacing?
Interfacing across users, even if have office space shared between them, is something that is very likely and being able to deal with that from the source is important. Having isolated users of difficult integration between users is a sure sign of a problem with a data center. If a data center claims to be open, then that cross-user interface will determine exactly how open the system is and if more freedoms need to be available for the user or user group as a whole.
A User’s Needs Come First
When dealing with open data centers, it’s easy to fall prey to the term “open”. As the Search Data Center shows us, the data center is evolving daily, and we already have seen steps towards changing open data centers into cloud servers in keeping with the potential evolution of the data center. At the end of the day, being wary about whether an open data center is truly open must be the number one concern. In order to ensure that one does not get caught in misdirection, asking the right questions will allow us to determine whether the data center is indeed open, or whether we’re going to be locked into something that is a lot harder to use than it should be.Tags: Alternate Data Streams community data science