why cloud standardization needs to evolve

The lack of standardization in cloud computing is a dilemma that seems to be growing. Largely driven by a plethora of different cloud services being made available to IT buyers, confusion seems to rein over how best to resolve key issues such as overlaps, duplication and interoperability problems.

France Telecom’s Core Network & Cloud Standards Manager in Orange Labs, Jamil Chawki, is heading up an investigation into this for the International Telcommunication Union (ITU). As Chairman of Working Party Cloud, ITU-T SG 13, he is working to develop a set of recommendations to help achieve rigid standardization processes for all cloud systems.

He told me more about how this has come about and what he wants to see achieved.

how did you get involved with the ITU’s cloud computing groups?

The ITU-T Focus Group on Cloud Computing (FG Cloud) was established further to an agreement at a general meeting in Geneva, 8-11 February 2010 followed by ITU-T study groups and membership consultation. It was successfully concluded in December 2011. As the cloud is an area I work very closely on in Orange Labs, I wanted to be involved and my peers chose me to be the vice-chair of the focus group.

We wanted to make the voice of telecommiunications firms involved in the cloud be heard more loudly, above all the noise that was already on the scene from IT vendors. So we took it upon ourselves to develop this collaborative effort that would cover all technical topics around the cloud from the perspectives of both sides and identify what we could do better. From our meetings, we released our technical report a few weeks ago 

how would you summarise this technical report?

The Technical report is divided in 7 parts as follow (click on the link above to read):

Part 1: Introduction to the cloud ecosystem: definitions, taxonomies, use cases and high-level requirements
Part 2: Functional requirements and reference Architecture
Part 3: Requirements and framework architecture of cloud infrastructure
Part 4: Cloud Resource Management Gap Analysis
Part 5: Cloud security
Part 6: Overview of SDOs involved in cloud computing
Part 7: Cloud computing benefits from telecommunication and ICT perspectives

Each part was influenced by both telcos and IT vendors and intends to stress the benefits of exploiting the capabilities of all the firms involved in the best possible way to ensure the highest qualities and the best services. We really want to try and help overcome the myths and fears around the cloud and one of the best ways of doing this is to be collaborative and enforce standardization.

your working party will look at this in some more depth. What can you tell us about it?

In January, we held a workshop to facilitate the discussion on the future direction of cloud computing and smart grid standardization by providing information on these technologies, showing the results of the Focus Groups activities and showing proposals from these Focus Groups.

What we found was a lot of confusion around standardization and so we opted to set up a working party, which I chair, with the intention of publishing five recommendations to be taken forward, hopefully by the end of the year. We meet for the first time next month to discuss.

The real problem is that standards are essential to enuring interoperability between providers and comprehensive interface standards are lacking for interoperabilty between cloud platforms built by different providers. This has been driven by telecoms firms only launching their offerings after the IT vendors had already begun selling the cloud.

If providers are able to deliver composite cloud-based services rapidly and at competitive pricing, in a customizable fashion to tailor to various customer scenarios, then takeup of the cloud would be so much better. What we want to offer the telecommunications industry is deep insight and understanding in both the run-time aspects of service delivery, as well as the management of these services.

how has this helped with your work in Orange Labs?

This continuing research is really redefining the way that telcos and IT vendors work together to enable flexible, end-to-end management of composed services and increases our understanding of the architecture of our existing content and applications. We’re able to minimize the cost and cycle time around translating service ideas into market offerings as a result.

This blog is an extract from a wider piece on cloud standardization appearing in June’s Real Times


image © treenabeena - Fotolia.com

Nicolas Jacquey
Joe Fernandez

Joe Fernandez is a technology writer and blogger for Futurity Media. As a journalist, he was an editor on Computer Weekly and Microscope magazines and worked as a deputy editor for Marketing Week and its sister title Pitch covering online marketing and social media developments. Joe has also appeared in titles including New Media Age, Guardian Computing, Computing Magazine, The Inquirer and Mobile Magazine.