Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cloudscape-III: Thoughts on standards

Unsurprisingly there has been a lot of discussion today about standards in clouds and how these should evolve or be put in place.

This topic was also on the agenda at the panel discussion which closed the yesterday’s proceedings. The question posed to the panel? To give their thoughts on achieving interoperability in clouds through standards.

Standardisation as seen during the European elections
Dawn Leaf of NIST kicked us off by suggesting that implementation and deployment of the cloud model needs to take place in parallel with design standards. Dawn said that there’ll always be a level of uncertainty before standards are reached. Therefore we need to go forward with deployment to generate a certain experience base before standards can be achieved. She stressed the need for a dual path of implementation, experience and testing. This sentiment was echoed by Gregg Brown, Microsoft’s Senior Director in the Interoperability Group Gregg who explained how NIST is running an open process to achieve this end. NIST engineers are constantly trying to converge on developments that get a green light so they can then move forward.

According to EGI director Steven Newhouse, we’ve now come to the first wave of experimentation and consolidation for standards in cloud. However defining the point between where standards stop and we're able to build our applications on top will be dynamic and is likely to move forward in cyclic ways.

Tim Cowen of Sidley Austin Founder Open Computing Alliance explained how at one end of the scale lies competition while at the other is interoperability. He asked us to consider how to strike the balance between the two. Vangelis Floros, of GRNET also posed a question: what are they boundary borders for standardisation? He asked us to consider the standards that have made it through to today. In order for them to be successful they are usually simple and generic. In this way they are easy to adopt as well as to project onto our own problems.

Ian Osborne added that the requirement of the standard and development of standard itself are always out of phase with each other. While end users don’t say that they need to have a solutions developers are just hanging around. He also suggested that making the user pool bigger could help to provide a solution to this. However Ignacio Blanquer emphasised that end users are much more flexible than we think. If we give them what we can offer they will often adapt it themselves. Ignacio thinks the end users we need at the moment are the visionary ones that want to get their hands on cloud.

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