Platforms, Trust and Open Cloud Computing

JP Rangaswami’s post on platforms is worth reading. Rather than try to summarize it myself, I’ll just excerpt a few highlights:

His definition of platforms:

  • something that is a foundation, an enabling environment, upon which others can build things, make things
  • something that exists for a specific purpose (or set of purposes), and which invests in capabilities related to those purposes
  • something that then makes it easy for people to use those capabilities
  • something that does all this in a commercial model that facilitates the creation and development of new products, new services, new markets, new marketplaces
  • something that can coexist with other platforms and ecosystems

And a bit more about platform API’s:

Anything that aspires to be a platform needs to engender this trust. So when you look at “platform APIs” don’t be surprised at what they do at their core. They’re usually about a very small number of things:

  • user directories, adding and removing people, grouping and classification
  • identity, authentication and permissioning
  • service and data inventorying, cataloguing and access
  • publishing of things digital
  • distribution of things digital

This is a great piece and much of it centers on the notion of trust – users trusting the platform and platforms trusting other platforms. That’s critical for the kinds of service interoperability that is required for an open cloud computing to succeed.