A couple of weeks ago, we asked on ReadWriteCloud’s weekly poll if you thought that Amazon S3‘s API should be considered as the standard for data storage. Almost 50% of respondents indicated that yes, it should be. 23% thought “maybe,” but wanted to see other companies weigh in first, and roughly 17% said that “no, there are better options out there.” And 11% responded that they don’t believe an API standard is necessary at this time.
The 125 people who responded our poll by no means constitute the definitive answer to the question of cloud storage API standard, and there have been multiple blog posts over the last week or so with folks weighing in on this subject, an indication arguably that the question of standards – and whose standards – is an important and interesting one for the cloud community.
CloudSwitch founder Ellen Rubin, writing on the company’s Enterprise Blog, asks a similar question as the ReadWriteCloud weekly poll: Is Amazon the official cloud standard? Her post follows up on a statement made by Structure conference, where Amazon was called the de-facto industry standard.
Rubin writes, “If there were an industry standard, Amazon certainly has a strong claim for it. They’re the clear leader, with technology second to none. They’ve made huge contributions to advance cloud computing. Their API is highly proven and widely used, their cloud is highly scalable, and they have by far the biggest traction of any cloud. So full credit to Amazon for leading the way in bringing cloud computing into the mainstream. But it’s a big leap from there to saying that Amazon should be the basis for an industry standard.”
Rubin admits that Amazon isn’t necessarily promoting its API as the standard – “they’re just ‘doing their thing'” – and she questions whether or not a standard for the cloud is necessary or relevant. And in an article on CNET, James Urquhart is similarly cautious about crowning Amazon as the standard too quickly. “Not so fast,” says Urquhart, who offers three main reasons why, despite Amazon’s strong market position, that its storage API may not be the the standard:
Urquhart’s assertions do overlook Google’s adoption of the Amazon S3 API, but the point about the institution of a standard at what can still be considered the early stages of computing seems to be a valid one.
Do standards prevent innovation? And on the other hand, without standards, are we slowing cloud adoption?
It’s clear, based on the changing industry and on the multitude of recent blog posts on cloud APIs, that the matter is far from decided. But as more and more vendors adopt the Amazon S3 API, whether we like it or not, it will become the de facto standard.