The issues of data, data lock-in, interoperability usually drives lots of debates and discussions. Started early from support and conversions of CAD data formats, interoperability continued to be complicated topic for PDM and PLM systems. Companies are still investing lots of money and effort in converting and translation of data. Introduction of SaaS and cloud platforms injected new waves of discussions – what happens with our data on the cloud. What if cloud software vendors lock my data, and I will not be able to get it out? What if a cloud vendor goes out of business, and data disappears. These are all very important questions.
To look for answers I suggest to go and learn from companies that were pioneering cloud applications. Google is certainly one of them. Are you familiar with data liberation front? You probably should. Especially, if you are thinking about cloud and cloud PLM. Navigate your browser to this link to learn more. According to Wikipedia:
Google’s Data Liberation Front is an engineering team at Google whose "goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products." The team, which consults with other engineering teams within Google on how to "liberate" Google products, currently supports 27 products. The purpose of the Data Liberation Front is to ensure that data can be migrated from Google once an individual or company stops using their services.
The key product in Google’s data liberation is Google Takeout, which helps you to escape from any Google apps and take your data out. Google Takeout products available for variety of Google Apps – Docs, Google Profile, Picasa and others.
Another interesting example. Navigate to the following article – You Might Be Able To Download All Your Tweets By End Of The Year. In my view, this is another example of data liberation. Here is the passage:
Users might able to download all of their past tweets by the end of the year, according to reports from those attending Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s talk at the Online News Association conference. In response to Emily Bell, Director of Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia’s Journalism School, Costolo said he would like to see the feature “Before the end of the year,” given their engineers’ capacity. In other words, being able to download your tweets is now a priority. Update: Twitter has confirmed to TechCrunch’s report of Costolo’s talk.
What is my conclusion? Do you have your data in Google account? I’m sure, you do. Did you try to backup and/or escape from your Google cloud? Honestly, I checked how I can do it. But I never wanted. Data is accessible and stored conveniently. In my view, data liberation is a good example of how cloud software vendors need to provide for their customers the way to escape from cloud services. I believe cloud providers will open a way in liberating data by making it accessing in many easy ways. Combined with the ability to escape from these platforms, it will provide a new paradigm of openness in the industry. Just my thoughts…