Following on from Artur's post on Amazon's SLA - I've picked up Scott Hanselman's questioning of the Skynet compute cloud.
Balancing supply and demand for computer resources over a few large scale common resource providers enables efficiency gains (in terms of money, people and energy) which are not achievable with today's fragmented infrastructure. However there are barriers to its adoption, whether it's legal issues or concerns over lock-in to a specific vendor and the resultant exit cost.
I've long believed the key to this is establishing a competitive utility computing market, but this requires portability of applications from one cloud to another and hence an open and free standard (implemented through an open source reference model).
As I've commented before the issue is not the lack of an SLA with Amazon EC2 but that there is no Google EC2 or Microsoft EC2 or etc.
Creating such portability is one of the key ideas behind Zimki, though obviously slightly higher up the stack than raw machine images. This is one of the reasons why the open sourcing of the Zimki engine is so key to us and hence my disappointment in our delay.
You can read more about this on Steve's blog. It's a shame they don't seem to be open sourcing it yet.
One thing worth noting is Steve's reference to "NBE", I just hope that the "E" stands for engine.
Google has the infrastructure and brand to make such a move into the NBT (Next Big Thing) and we would all benefit from an open sourced standard engine providing portability between clouds.
The original but very sucky name of Zimki, was libapi - as in liberty, liberal and liberation API.
It's always been about freedom from "Yak shaving" but that freedom also requires choice.