Cloud coalition seeks vendor standards

Open Data Center Alliance unveils its first reference models to streamline routine processes and better articulate vendor security measures with aim of fast-tracking adoption of cloud services, say execs.

The Open Data Center Alliance wants to put users' voice in the forefront and establish cloud standards in routine processes as well as security measures for IT vendors to adhere to. To do so, it introduced its first usage model references on Tuesday.

According to Adrian Kunzle, managing director and global head of engineering and architecture at JPMorgan Chase, the Alliance released these "user-driven" cloud usage models and data center requirements based on its members' prioritization of the most pressing challenges facing enterprise IT today.

The eight "foundational Open Data Center Usage Models" put forward by the coalition outlined specific innovations in security, automation, common management and service transparency required for widespread adoption of cloud services, he wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

"This release is effectively a catalyst for investment in cloud services. It will shape member planning and purchasing decisions and guide the vendor community in the development of next-generation datacenter solutions," he added.

The executive said the Open Data Center Alliance, which was set up in 2010, currently has more than 250 members and is led by 12 executives from notable companies such as JPMorgan Chase, BMW, Capgemini and China Unicom.

Fellow steering committee member and chief strategy officer at Terremark, Marvin Wheeler, also highlighted security concerns in a separate blog post on Tuesday. He said that when enterprise organizations consider the adoption of cloud services, security invariably rises to the top of the list of concerns.

Citing Sony's recent Playstation Network breach which compromised the personal information of more than 100 million users as an example, Wheeler said such incidents deter companies from using cloud computing for mission-critical applications, if at all.

"Before [enterprises] collectively get serious about using cloud services for business applications, they need to have all of their security concerns fully addressed," he added.

To address these concerns, Wheeler pointed to the Alliance's Provider Security Assurance and Security Compliance Monitoring usage models as "a step in this direction". By putting these models together, companies will have a set of requirements that drives toward a standard framework for securing cloud services and monitoring them in real-time to verify that service providers are delivering the promised levels of security, he added.

In April, Cloud Security Alliance Executive Director Jim Reavis also pointed out the silver lining in these network breaches is such attacks will force the industry stakeholders to come together and formulate cloud standards to improve security.

Kunzle said the delivery of open, interoperable cloud solutions based on the Alliance requirements could accelerate over US$50 billion in cloud services expenditure. Furthermore, the efficiencies gained by the adoption of simplified cloud service could help organizations reduce annual IT operations costs by US$25 billion within five years, he stated.

"[These usage models] put the adoption of cloud services on a fast track and the customer voice in the driver's seat," he added.


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