ITU-T FG Cloud 6th Meeting: Progress on 7 Output Documents

The sixth ITU-T Focus Group on Cloud Computing (FG Cloud) meeting took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from June 27 to July, 1 2011. 40 participants, representing 18 organizations, submitted 92 contributions, input liaisons and presentations to this meeting.  Meeting documents are only available to ITU-T members with a TIES account.

General information about the FG Cloud is available on its web site:

The main results of the sixth FG Cloud meeting were the progression of seven output documents:
1. Introduction to the cloud ecosystem: definitions, taxonomies, use cases, high level requirements and capabilities.
2. Functional requirements and reference architecture
3. Infrastructure and network enabled cloud
4. Cloud security, threat & requirements
5. Benefits of cloud computing from telecom/ICT perspectives
6. Overview of SDOs involved in cloud computing
7. Cloud resources management gap analysis (initial draft for review)

These documents are in various stages of development.  Some of them are fairly stable, others are not.

This author believes that two of the above list of output documents will be especially important for cloud network providers and hardware/ software vendors. 

Here is a very brief high level overview of each of those two documents (they are works in progress):

Functional Requirements and Reference Architecture

Cloud architecture must meet several requirements to enable sustained innovation and development of cloud services. With multiple stakeholders involved, the cloud architecture must be flexible to fit the needs of infrastructure providers, service providers and service resellers. Cloud architecture must enable multiple models and use-cases, some currently known and others to be envisioned in future. Currently known models include IaaS, PaaS and SaaS and it is possible these would be used in combination. A cloud provider must be able to provide all or some of these services using the same architecture. For private and hybrid cloud operations, cloud services must appear like intranet services. This means a user must be able to access resources using the same domain names as on the intranet. Hosts and resources that have been migrated from private to public clouds should be accessed transparent to where they are being currently hosted.  Cloud architecture must enable early detection, diagnosis and fixing of infrastructure or service related problems. The consumers may have little to no control on ensuring that this is running correctly so the service rides on a provider’s ability to fix issues quickly.

Telecom Cloud Computing reference architecture should consider four entities:

1. Clients: which will be users, internet applications or software clients; they all have corresponding functions to interwork with cloud services.
2. Network: also called “pipeline”, will be more intelligent in cloud computing. Because computing and storage are aggregated at network center and we think it must cause the network architecture to be changed. There should be more study on it. All Cloud interwork activities will happen on network.
3. Cloud itself: it generally includes three layers: Physical DC, Cloud OS, Services Capabilities and Portal. It provides APIs to “Clients” or other Clouds. We think cloud is complicated because of its technologies and services types. However, no matter virtualization, distributed computing or multi-tenant are methods of how computing (and storage) is organized, they can be thought as Cloud core functions (Here we call “OS”). Above Cloud “OS”, all type of services run. IaaS, PaaS and SaaS can be mapped into instances run on “OS” and have different service form. 
4. External Interwork Entities (e.g. Management Platform, other Cloud): Cloud services platform must consider how to integrated with the old operating platform and how to interconnect with other cloud(the same operator or different operators)

Infrastructure and Network Enabled Cloud

The ITU FG Cloud participants believe that network service providers have a unique opportunity to bundle or combine Network and IT resources to provide cloud computing and/or storage services. Network service providers can also leverage their network assets to ensure excellent network availability and performance for secure end to end cloud services.  Another opportunity for service providers is to evolve network resource allocation and control to more dynamic in order to meet the needs to provision on-demand cloud services.

The activity of this work area will be focused on:
a[ the ability to link existing networks services, Internet connectivity,  L2/L3 VPN efficiently to  public or private cloud services.
-b] the ability to link a flexible L2 and L3 network management and cloud technology forming an integrated cloud infrastructure enabling cloud services.

The infrastructure and network enabled cloud can deliver IT infrastructure (especially virtualized IT resources) as a service. Virtualization allows the splitting of a single physical piece of hardware into independent, self-governed environments, which can be extended in terms of CPU, RAM, Disk, I/O and other elements. The infrastructure includes servers, storages, networks, and other hardware appliances.

The common characteristics of infrastructure and network enabled cloud include:
-Network centric: The framework of infrastructure and network enabled cloud consists of plenty of computing resource, storage resource, and other hardware devices that connect with each other through network.
-Service provisioning: Infrastructure & network enabled cloud provides a multi-level on-demand service mode according to individualized demand of different customers.
-High scalability/reliability: Infrastructure & network enabled cloud can adapt to changing requirements of customers quickly and flexibly, and realize high scalability and high reliability through various mechanisms.
-Resource pooling/ transparency: The underlying resources (computing, storage, network, etc.) of Infrastructure amd network enabled cloud are transparent to the customer, the customer does not need to know the how and where resources are deployed.

Next meeting:  The seventh FG-Cloud meeting is scheduled for  September 26-30, 2011 in Seoul, Korea.   September 26th will be a Joint Meeting with ISO/IEC JTC1 and NIST.

References:  This author has written many articles about the Cloud Computing standards (or the lack thereof).  Here are links to a few of them: