SAN JOSE, Calif. – The IEEE is kicking off two efforts to ease the take off of cloud computing, a design guide and a standard for interoperable cloud services. The work marks the first time a formal standards organization has come to grips with issues in cloud services, IEEE claims.
Cloud services could reshape the future of computing, a potential that sparked academics to call for cloud computing standards in a paper in 2009. In separate efforts, Intel and Hewlett-Packard are ramping up significant cloud programs, and cloud services are being adopted broadly by end users including the U.S. government.
The IEEE P2301 will produce a guide for cloud portability and interoperability profiles. It aims to provide a single reference source for work done or in-progress at various industry groups on topics such as cloud applications, portability, management, interfaces, file formats and operating conventions.
The guide could be used both by cloud service providers and users procuring services or systems. "It's hard for companies to find any technical specs to procure against for cloud services," said David Bernstein, who chairs IEEE P2301 and is a group chief technology officer for software in Silicon Valley for Huawei (Shenzhen, China).
Bernstein co-authored at least six papers in the last two years on cloud computing including one titled Blueprint for the Intercloud. The concept of interoperability between cloud services—also referred to as the Intercloud--is the subject for P2302, the other IEEE working group Bernstein chairs.
P2302 will try to define a range of standards to ensure interoperability between cloud services. They may include areas such as use of name space, trust infrastructure, communications protocols (such as HTTP, SIP or XMPP), resource directories and exchange topology.
The result, according to the IEEE, could be a set of specifications that bring interoperability to cloud services just as naming and routing protocols did for the Internet and Signaling System 7 did for telephony. Although the work is initially focused on high-level software constructs, long term it could have implications for system and silicon hardware design, said Bernstein.
"This whole notion of a global intercloud will have sweeping implications for how these systems are created, and some of these capabilities may find their way into hardware, but it's too soon to tell," he said.
Indeed, the two IEEE work groups have not yet been formed. "We have formed contacts with more than 200 people pretty much around the globe saying they are interested as we have talked about these groups at IEEE events and over email," he said.
The interest is coming from a broad range of server, communications and storage systems makers as well as software companies and service providers, he added. Bernstein said he is hopeful the efforts "will have a solid time line and deliverables this year, and I am sure we will be working hard well into next year."