What's Up - or Not - in Cloud Standards

Loraine Lawson

There's just no denying that cloud standards would be a good thing for most of us. Standards would make lock-in less likely by making it easier to take your data ball and go home if you wanted - or go to a rival cloud vendor.


But here's the thing about standards: It can take a long time to work through differences between competing vendors and some say it can stifle innovation. And often, vendors benefit from a lack of standards.


Network World recently published an excellent article explaining all the pieces in play when it comes to cloud standard. The conclusion: The push for standards is still very much in the infant stages with cloud and that's causing management and portability problems for businesses.


One of the side effects of this standards vacuum is that dozens of companies have sprung up to help other businesses manage cloud deployments, including adapting data to meet a cloud vendor's API specifications.


But there are groups championing the push for standards. The article mentions:


  • The Storage Network Industry Association, a nonprofit group that's developed storage standards since 1997. SNIA is behind the Cloud Data Management Interface effort, which would create a common toolset for managing data in the cloud.
  • The Open Virtualization Format, which addresses standards in APIs to support easier migration of jobs between virtual machines.
  • The Cloud Security Allowance, which wants cloud providers to publish security standards. Its members include Coca-Cola and eBay, Computerworld reports.


In addition to those three, there are also:


And then there's Amazon, which is in some ways positioned to become a de facto standard for cloud computing, as a number of experts have pointed out. Mike Fratto, editor of Network Computing, has a nice write-up on that thesis, and notes that Amazon has been rather coy about the whole thing.


So that's where the industry stands when it comes to cloud, APIs and standards. Or, perhaps it's more accurate to steal a phrase from Michael Feldman of NPR's Whad' Ya Know: When it comes to cloud standards, that's all the news that isn't.

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