Interoperability is a concept in IT circles that refers to two or more separate systems being able to work together. There are two types of interoperability and both are important.

  • Syntactic Interoperability – Syntactic interoperability is the ability for two or more systems to communicate and share information.
  • Semantic Interoperability – Semantic interoperability is the ability to interpret information shared between two separate systems accurately enough that both systems can find a use for it.

So what does interoperability have to do with cloud computing, or cloud hosting? In a word, everything.

Keep in mind that working in the cloud inevitably leads to incompatible systems coming face to face at some point. When they meet and they process information in different languages or through entirely different protocols, how do you get them to play nice together? There has to be a translator, a system in the middle to act as a bridge.

Interoperability is a term that IT departments use to figure out how their separate systems and applications can be designed to work well together. It is very important, especially if you use different applications manufactured by different companies and located on separate servers in different locations, to configure your applications and systems so that they work together to help your organization meet its goals instead of having them compete or bump heads.

Interoperability may be one of cloud hosting’s biggest challenges, but it’s not a hurdle that can’t be overcome. Once you figure it out you’ll be able to take better advantage of your cloud resources.