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7/15/2009
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Groups Seek Cloud Computing Standards

A number of bodies jointly seek standardization in areas including security, management frameworks, data exchange formats, and cloud taxonomies and reference models.

A group of standards bodies and industry groups has joined forces to collaborate on a strategy behind future cloud computing standardization efforts, the Object Management Group announced this week.

"Rather than one-by-one agreements and developing hundreds of standards that overlap, we're working together," Richard Soley, chairman of and CEO of the Object Management Group said Wednesday during a panel discussion at the National Defense University Information Resources Management College's Cloud Computing Symposium.

The group of standards bodies, called "the Cloud Standards Coordination Working Group," includes the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, Object Management Group, Distributed Management Task Force, Storage and Network Industry Association, Open Grid Forum, Cloud Security Alliance, Open Cloud Consortium, Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum and the TM Forum.

The body is looking at standardization in a number of specific areas, including security, interfaces to infrastructure-as-a-service, information about deployment such as resource and component descriptions, management frameworks, data exchange formats and cloud taxonomies and reference models.

The form and scope of those standards is to be determined, and Soley said the groups are looking for much more input from both users and industry. "Standards don't work without heavy participation by prospective end users of those standards," he said. To help facilitate that process, the bodies have set up a wiki to allow community and customer participation in determining the best paths for standards development.

Community participation, deliberate action, and planning must be a vital part of any successful standards process, Gartner VP David Cearley said during the same panel conversation. Otherwise, he said, cloud standards efforts could fail miserably.

"Standards is one of those things that could absolutely strangle and kill everything we want to do in cloud computing if we do it wrong," he said. "We need to make sure that as were approaching standards, we're approaching standards more as they were approached in the broader internet, just in time."

Earlier this year, a group of companies and organizations created the Cloud Computing Manifesto, a group that quickly became an object lesson on the potential pratfalls of standards efforts, as several key companies, including Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, decided not to participate.


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