A recent ZDNet article, The Big Lesson Cloud Computing Needs to Learn from the History of the Web, reported on Dr. Jeff Jaffe’s presentation at the Cloud World Forum in London. Dr. Jaffe is the CEO of the W3C. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Jaffe said it was time to begin the process of standardising the platform architectures and technologies underpinning cloud services, that is the likes of software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service.
There is no question that standards are important to the adoption of software technology. Nevertheless, it flatly does not make sense to ever hope for standardization of Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). The reporter, Nick Heath, did not directly quote Dr. Jaffe in the above excerpt concerning the standardization of SaaS and PaaS. So, we cannot be sure he said that.
Grace Lewis wrote in a blog entry describing The Role of Standards in Cloud-Computing Interoperability, published last October by SEI:
Expecting PaaS and SaaS providers to standardize these features would be equivalent to asking an enterprise resource-planning software vendor to standardize all of its features; it’s not going to happen because it’s not in their best interests.
For platforms, the SEI report states that Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is likely to benefit from standardization efforts in the areas of workload migration and data migration. These were defined as:
Workload Migration: A workload that executes in one cloud provider can be uploaded to another cloud provider.
Data Migration: Data that resides in one cloud provider can be moved to another cloud provider.
And, there is ongoing standards work in these areas. For workload migration, the SEI report mentions:
- Amazon Machine Image (AMI)—becoming a de facto standard
- Open Virtualization Framework (OVF)
- Virtual Hard Disk (VHD)
For data migration, the SEI report mentions:
- Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI)
- SOAP and REST are also mentioned because of their use by Cloud Providers. Also, the CDMI API is REST-based.
I recommend reading the SEI report if you are interested in Cloud Computing standards. It describes the best areas for standardization efforts at this time and areas for future work.
Developing standards in the the software industry is an incremental and sometimes episodic process that generally moves slower than most would expect. I know that because I participated in three different software standards organizations over the last decade. Cloud Computing standards are no different.
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