A major systems-management standards body has formed a group dedicated to developing open management standards for cloud computing.
The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), whose board includes representatives from companies such as VMware, IBM, Microsoft, Citrix and HP, announced the creation of the Open Cloud Standards Incubator (OCSI) group on Monday.
"Cloud computing will have a major impact on IT management," said DMTF president Winston Bumpus in a statement. "With the DMTF's track record for leading the industry in the development of proven standards for management interoperability, along with its extensive network of Alliance Partners, this Open Cloud Standards Incubator provides an ideal setting for initiating work on specifications to enable interoperable cloud management."
Cloud computing is a field of technology where resources, ranging from application platforms to processing power, are remotely provided over the internet. The field takes in public cloud providers, such as Amazon, and private clouds such as those that might be deployed within an enterprise, but there are currently no standards for interoperability between the two. It is this lack of standards that the OCSI is seeking to address.
The group will also try to develop specifications for cloud service portability and management consistency across cloud and enterprise platforms, the DMTF said in its statement.
Companies sitting on the OCSI leadership board include AMD, Cisco, Citrix, EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Savvis, Sun and VMware. Many of these companies were also signatories to a recent Open Cloud Manifesto, with Microsoft being the notable exception.
Amazon and Salesforce.com — both major cloud players — have not yet signed up to either initiative.
"For many years, IBM has advocated common, open and consensus-based technology standards from reputable standards bodies, and cloud computing is no exception," Erich Clementi, IBM's general manager of enterprise initiatives, said in the statement. "Open technical standards are integral to enabling the delivery of everything from healthcare to business services and consumer entertainment. IBM is committed to working with its industry peers to make it easier for clients to manage emerging cloud environments that include technology from multiple vendors."
In the statement, AMD's general manager of servers and workstations, Pat Patla, said open cloud standards would aid IT managers who "like to take advantage of new technologies to benefit their companies [but] also need to contain datacentre management complexity and IT costs".
Simon Crosby, Citrix's chief technology officer for virtualisation and management, said in the statement that the OCSI group's work would be "crucial for ensuring interoperability and management consistency across cloud platforms".
According to the OCSI charter document, the group will "develop a suite of DMTF informational specifications that deliver architectural semantics to unify the interoperable management of enterprise computing and cloud computing".
"This may include extensions to existing DMTF specifications including the Common Information Model (CIM), Open Virtualization Format (OVF), WBEM Protocols, member submissions and investigation of opportunities for collaboration with other industry standards bodies," the charter continues. "The scope of this activity is focused on mainly cloud resource-management aspects of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) with some work touching on platform-as-a-service (PaaS) including SLAs, QoS, utilisation, provisioning and accounting and billing."