Does Anyone Really Care about lack of Cloud Computing Standards? Who’s doing what?


At Cloud Connect 2012, there were several audience members clamoring for a common API that could be used to access cloud services from Amazon, Rackspace and other leading public cloud providers.  There was also discussion of the networking issues, with the consensus being that the public Internet could not provide the security, performance guarantees, reliability/availability that many larger companies need.  As a result, there are MEF efforts to position “Connection Oriented Ethernet” for private clouds.  (Connections are set up by the management plane used by the network operator).  Here’s a link to their latest whitepaper on Carrier Ethernet for Private Clouds:

For more on this topic, please see:  Cloud Connect 2012: WAN issues still unresolved

Yet the lack of standards and the resultant vendor lock-in doesn’t seem to bother most cloud users.  We think it will when they decide to change cloud service providers and have to start everything from scratch.  

Cloud Computing SDOs:

In fact, there are a number of organizations that ratify proposals for cloud standards and others that develop guidelines and provide information to those interested in cloud computing.  Some of the more important ones include (ITU-T and IEEE are NOT listed, as we had earlier written about on this web site):

  • The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) develops cloud interoperability and security standards. The DTMF created the Open Cloud Standards Incubator (OCSI) in 2009 to address the need for open management standards for cloud computing. An OCSI-produced white paper, Interoperable Clouds White Paper, helps users with questions about integrating computer, network and storage services from one or more cloud service providers into business and IT processes.
  • The mission of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security.
  • The Open Cloud Consortium (OCC) is a member-driven organization that develops reference implementations, benchmarks and standards for cloud computing.
  • The Open Grid Forum (OGF) is an open community committed to driving the rapid evolution and adoption of applied distributed computing. OGF accomplishes its work through open forums that build the community, explore trends, share best practices and consolidate these best practices into standards. OGF has launched the Open Cloud Computing Interface Working Group to deliver an open community, consensus-driven API, targeting cloud infrastructures.
  • The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has adopted the role of industry catalyst for the development of storage specifications and technologies, global standards, and storage education.
  • The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) publishes guidelines for secure cloud computing, and the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum (CCIF) is a vendor-neutral, open community of technology advocates and consumers dedicated to driving the rapid adoption of global cloud computing services.

There is also a wiki site for cloud standards coordination that documents the activities of the various standards organizations working on cloud standards and guidelines.

Immediately after an incredibly disappointed IEEE Inter-Cloud WG meeting, I wrote an article tracking various cloud related standards:

Cloud Computing Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) and their output documents


We think the lack of cloud standards will create tremendous churn in the industry and limit market growth.  Until a solid set of cloud computing standards are established and implemented, users need to remain cautious moving to the cloud.