Cloud Standards 101

Written by: Jason Meilleur
Published: September 12, 2011



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    An Evolution

    All revolutions start somewhere and their evolution can follow a pretty typical course. Attention must be paid to all the loose ends exploded by the emerging phenomenon, as quite often, how people exploit this new potential at its earliest stages will dominate the shape the new paradigm assumes.So it is with the developing shape of cloud computing. Definition is starting to emerge in the skies with the establishment of a set of standards seeking to best facilitate its adoption. Will they eliminate the confusion that currently shrouds the stuff? It’s a subject that’s scored a whack of attention from folks anxious to corral usability within manageable parameters. We take a look at some of the organizations trying to set the tone for this game changer.

    Cloud Standards Customer Council.

    This end-user advocacy group claims ownership of more than 100 members. It exists to complement existing cloud standards efforts. It seeks the production of a core set of client-driven requirements that lower the barriers for widespread cloud adoption by prioritizing key interoperability issues, including cloud management, reference architecture and hybrid clouds. It also hopes, with its existence, to facilitate the exchange of real-world stories that might provide illumination and insight into the practical application of this complicated new beast. A “resource hub” on the council’s website offers case studies in which users might find a useful reflection of themselves. The site also provides a compilation of industry news stories on the cloud, and cloud-based webcasts and podcasts can be accessed here. Notable members: Citigroup, Deere & Co., Costco Wholesale, North Carolina State University.

    Open Data Center Alliance.

    This Intel-backed standards organization was formed last year. Principles claim the membership represents more than $100 billion in annual IT spending power. This organization is behind the recent development of eight discreet “usage models,” designed to help IT managers in negotiations with cloud providers through the provision of various standardized templates. Indeed, this independent IT consortium is dedicated to having these usage models in widespread application in order to best help newcomers comprehensively appreciate the expected delivery of identified customer requirements based on open, industry-standard and multivendor solutions. Notable members: BMW, Marriott International, Shell and Deutsche Bank.

    Cloud Security Alliance.

    This not-for-profit, member-driven organization is committed to promoting the best practices for security assurance provision within cloud computing. Led by a broad coalition of industry practitioners, corporations and associations, the alliance is also keen to provide education on this subject for new users struggling with its dimensions. Its site helpfully lists upcoming events, such as the Cloud Security Alliance Conference 2011 (in Orlando, November 16 and 17). A blog features entries with such titles as, “Pass the Buck: Who’s Responsible for Security in the Cloud?” and “Understanding Best-in-Class Cloud Security Measures and How to Evaluate Providers.” It also provides a highly useful forum for the dissemination of the latest news, research developments and educational opportunities. Notable members: Coca-Cola, eBay, Reed Elsevier.

    So as we move into the new paradigm keep an eye out for these cloud players; who knows, they may set the standards your organization has to meet.

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