Camille Mendler, Vice President of Research at Yankee Group: “Cloud computing is the future of ICTs. It's urgent to address interoperability issues which could stall global diffusion of new services. Collaboration between private and public sectors is required..” That lack of interoperability is a huge problem, was highlighted at the recent Cloud Connect Conference (in Santa Clara, CA in March). It was a very sobering experience for this author. At the conference, it was revealed that there was no umbrella set of standards for cloud computing and no single standards body claims ownership of comprehensive cloud computing specifications. IBM's VP of Cloud Services Ric Telford was asked what he thought about the huge growth forecast for cloud computing. Mr. Telford said: "I have no problem with those numbers (40% in three years; 70% in five) as long as you include the caveat, it could be any one of five delivery models." So the industry needs to define and standardize on those methods of delivering cloud services and applications to users, he said.
ITU-T Establishes Cloud Computing Focus Group
A new ITU-T Focus Group on Cloud Computing has been formed to enable a global cloud computing ecosystem where interoperability facilitates secure information exchange across platforms. The group will take a global view of standards activity in the field and will define a future path for greatest efficiency, creating new standards where necessary while also taking into account the work of others and proposing them for international standardization.
Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, said: “Cloud is an exciting area of ICTs where there are a lot of protocols to be designed and standards to be adopted that will allow people to best manage their digital assets. Our new Focus Group aims to provide some much needed clarity in the area.” The new ITU-T Cloud Focus group will take a global view of standards activity in the field and will define a future path for greatest efficiency, creating new standards where necessary while also taking into account the work of others and proposing them for international standardization.
ITU-T study groups were invited to accelerate their work on cloud at the fourth World Telecommunication Policy Forum (Lisbon, 2009) and at an ITU-hosted meeting of CTOs in October 2009. The CTOs highlighted network capabilities as a particular area of concern, where increased services and applications using cloud computing may result in the need for new levels of flexibility in networks to accommodate unforeseen and elastic demands.
Vladimir Belenkovich, Chairman of the ITU Focus Group on Cloud Computing: “The Focus Group will investigate requirements for standardization in cloud computing and suggest future study paths for ITU. Specifically, we will identify potential impacts in standards development in other fields such as NGN, transport layer technologies, ICTs and climate change, and media coding.”
A first brief exploratory phase will determine standardization requirements and suggest how these may be addressed within ITU study groups. Work will then quickly begin on developing the standards necessary to support the global rollout of fully interoperable cloud computing solutions. The Focus Group will, from the standardization view points and within the competences of ITU-T, contribute with the telecommunication aspects, i.e., the transport via telecommunications networks, security aspects of telecommunications, service requirements, etc., in order to support services/applications of “cloud computing” making use of telecommunication networks; specifically:
- identify potential impacts on standards development and priorities for standards needed to promote and facilitate telecommunication/ICT support for cloud computing
- investigate the need for future study items for fixed and mobile networks in the scope of ITU-T
- analyze which components would benefit most from interoperability and standardization
- familiarize ITU-T and standardization communities with emerging attributes and challenges of telecommunication/ICT support for cloud computing
- analyze the rate of change for cloud computing attributes, functions and features for the purpose of assessing the appropriate timing of standardization of telecommunication/ICT in support of cloud computing
The Focus Group will collaborate with worldwide cloud computing communities (e.g., research institutes, forums, academia) including other SDOs and consortia. First meeting of the FG Cloud is 14-16 June 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland. ITU-T TSAG is the parent group of this Focus Group.
For further information please, please refer to the ITU-T web site:
A recently published ITU-T Technology Watch Report titled ‘Distributed Computing: Utilities, Grids and Clouds’ describes the advent of clouds and grids, the applications they enable, and their potential impact on future standardization.
While I knew cloud computing was way overhyped, I thought that there was one or more standardards organizations that claimed ownership. I also thought that all the functional requirements and specifications done for grids, web services, and SOA (e.g. distributed management, federation, SLA requests and validation,etc) would not have to be re-invented and redone for clouds. Wow, that'll be a huge undertaking. Which standards organization might step in to fill this void?
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