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Cloud computing standards: Too many, doing too little

Kevin Fogarty | April 6, 2011
Two years ago, when the Desktop Management Task Force (DMTF) announced a standards-building effort for cloud computing, most people involved in cloud computing didn't even have a common definition of cloud computing.

OVF defines things about the virtual machine including its size, requirements for CPU, memory, storage and networking for the VM itself and for the application that runs on it, Chen says.

The conversion isn't simple enough to allow for frequent moves, however, and doesn't cover interoperability functions at all.

"It doesn't let me take a three-tier application, put it on one cloud, change my mind and move it to another and have all the security, authorization, resource allocation, monitoring, reporting and other things all work correctly on the new cloud," Staten says.

IEEE and Others Chime In

The second of IEEE's working groups -- IEEE P2302, Draft Standard for Intercloud Interoperability and Federation -- is focusing on protocols for exchanging data, programmatic queries, functions and governance for clouds sharing data or functions, or federating one cloud to another more easily than is now possible.

DMTF is working on similar functions through a subgroup called the Open Cloud Standards Incubator, which is defining an architecture guide, virtualization management specification and specific protocols for clouds to communicate.

Each is essentially pretending it's the only group that can produce a credible, practical set of standards for cloud that is timely enough to be useful for customers, Staten says.

Other groups are also working on a subset of cloud standards, but none are comprehensive and none are widely accepted, Chen says.

Among the other players are the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Open Grid Forum's Open Cloud Computing Interface working group, the Open Cloud Consortium, OASIS, Storage Networking Industry Association, the Open Group, the TM Forum's Cloud Services InitiativeThough DMTF and IEEE are more credible than most, either could fail easily by trying to define or limit the flexibility of cloud platforms they're standardizing, Staten says.

"This market is way too immature for any standards body to be able to say 'Thou Shalt Do it This Way,' anyway. IBM got together a bunch of vendors a couple of years ago to write a Cloud Manifesto to say we need to stop creating new things and figure out what this cloud thing is going to be."They got laughed out of the market," Staten says.


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