IEEE hopes to drive cloud standards

IEEE hopes to drive cloud standards

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is to get involved in cloud computing, starting with two development projects related to cloud interoperability.

The IEEE announced the projects on April 4 saying the current state of cloud computing is comparable to the nascent internet. Cloud computing is primed for explosive growth, but “without a flexible, common framework for interoperability, innovation could become stifled, leaving [users] with a siloed ecosystem,” the organisation warned in a statement.

As part of its cloud push, IEEE has started two working groups, P2301 and P2302, which will look at a wide variety of areas. The P2301 Work Group will work on standardising cloud portability and management, using a number of file formats and interfaces, while the P2302 Work Group will focus on cloud-to-cloud interoperability and federation. It will, for example, work on standardising gateways that can handle data exchange between clouds.

In general, standardisation in the cloud computing area is an extremely good thing, because it will allow enterprises to use cloud computing more effectively and with more confidence, says David Bradshaw, research manager of European SaaS and cloud services at IDC.

However, since cloud computing is still in its infancy, there is also a risk that defining how things should work in detail could have an opposite effect and stifle innovation, according to Bradshaw.

A plethora of organisations are working to standardise cloud computing. Even the European Commission has gotten involved.

Bradshaw hopes they all have the good sense to work together and avoid different islands of standards. The platform level is the area where the need for standardisation is most urgent, allowing companies to move workloads from one cloud vendor to another, he said.

The IEEE’s Cloud Computing Initiative is chaired by EMC’s Steve Diamond and the working groups are chaired by David Bernstein, managing director at the consultancy firm Cloud Strategy Partners.

In February, Standards New Zealand said it would form a domestic “international review” group to an ISO/IEC subcommittee on cloud computing services.

This came after a one-day workshop in January in which IT stakeholders and technical industry experts decided to form the review group, instead of establishing a domestic standards-setting entity as this was seen as unrealistic.

The review group was established to ensure New Zealand contributed to the development of international cloud computing standards, according to Standards New Zealand chief executive Debbie Chin.

Standards New Zealand is seeking funding from interested parties to suppot the review group’s continued work in this area to provide information for local consumers and providers on cloud computing services.

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