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Microsoft files cloud data portability patent

Component method

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Updated Microsoft has filed a patent to lock-down a method for moving data between different "clouds."

The technology in Microsoft's filing covers the need for users to move data to a new cloud where the existing service has failed or the provider has gone out of business, or where the user simply finds a better deal or offering somewhere else online.

Microsoft's filing, with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) here, appears designed to at the very least streamline the process of making a move and - at most - make switch over automatic.

The company describes an architecture that involves executor, detection, organizer, and summary components that will received and verify notices that a cloud service is to be terminated, find the relevant data and service, prioritize the data or service, and give a summary.

According to the filing, Microsoft's technology will preserve the data, meta-data, or service that's being terminated, roll it back to a state that allows migration, find a similar service comparable to the one already use, and then provide the migration.

The filing comes amid growing debate about the need for portability of applications and data between different online service providers offerings, and the need to prevent lock in.

Microsoft's already participating in the Simple API or Cloud Application Services. The idea is for a single programming interface for file storage, document database, simple queue, and other services offered on clouds from Rackspace, Microsoft, and others.

The company has contributed adapters to Simple API and PHP client libraries for its Windows Azure storage. Microsoft has been working very closely with PHP house Zend Technologies to ensure PHP runs smoothly and integrates effortlessly with Azure.

Thanks to Information Week for flagging the patent here

This piece has been updated to link to the Information Week piece that first caught the patent filing.

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