Can IEEE Help With Lack of Cloud Computing Standards?
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
- Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), British physicist and engineer.
I had written earlier on the lack of codified standards in cloud computing to provide benchmarks for service. (See: Cloud Computing Standards: How Important Are They?). I had also discussed one of the major drawbacks for this lacunae – the vagueness in cloud computing contracts (See: The Small Print in Cloud Computing Contracts). Now, a possible solution may be in sight, now that the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE has joined the fight.
The IEEE is a non-profit professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation related to electricity. It has more than 400,000 members in more than 160 countries, 45% outside the United States. With this move called the Cloud Computing Initiative, it is trying to establish two standards in cloud computing – IEEE P2301, Draft Guide for Cloud Portability and Interoperability Profiles, and IEEE P2302, Draft Standard for Inter-cloud Interoperability and Federation.
Steve Diamond, chair, IEEE Cloud Computing Initiative, cited a recent ITC study which identified the lack of security and standards as the two most pressing issues for the cloud, where 70% of the survey’s respondents said cloud standards were “important” or “very important”. He compared the current state of cloud computing to the Internet which benefited greatly once the TCP/IP standard was formalized. This is something I had earlier referenced in my article on cloud computing standards.
“Since its inception, the Internet has gone through radical changes driven by the twin engines of continued technology advancement and evolving user expectations. Cloud computing today is very much akin to the nascent Internet – a disruptive technology and business model that is primed for explosive growth and rapid transformation. But without a flexible, common framework for interoperability, innovation could become stifled, leaving us with a siloed ecosystem. By leveraging its uniquely deep and broad technological resources and expertise, IEEE is helping to minimize fragmentation and ensure that cloud computing realizes its full potential,” said Diamond.
So what makes IEEE’s efforts more suitable than some other industry bodies that have been created with the same objective? Well, for one, there is IEEE’s record in this field. It was IEEE’s work on 802.11 standards that made Wi-Fi the universal technology it is today. Secondly, consider IEEE’s extensive membership and reputation. This increases the probability that IEEE’s recommendations will be widely accepted. Thirdly, the fact that IEEE is an independent body with no corporate loyalties makes it impartial. Taking all these together, IEEE is eminently suitable to assume this important responsibility.
“Cloud computing will change everything. It is one of the three aspects of the ‘perfect storm’ of technology waves currently sweeping across humanity, the other two being massive deployment of very smart mobile devices, and ubiquitous high-speed connectivity,” said David Bernstein, IEEE P2301 and IEEE P2302 WG chair, and managing director, Cloud Strategy Partners. “The cloud will tie all of these coming advancements together. We’re truly embarking on a new age of innovation.”
He was quite insistent on the inclusive and voluntary nature of the initiative. “The standards are entirely voluntary for all considered, including users, vendors and participants,” he said. “Anyone is free to adopt them if they find value in it”. Since many cloud companies are participating in the development of the standards, he reasoned, they are more likely accept them.
“IEEE is in a uniquely powerful position to impact and shape the face of the burgeoning cloud computing revolution. Driven by a membership dedicated to technology innovation, IEEE continues to set the pace and methodology for contemporary standards development,” said Judith Gorman, managing director, IEEE-SA.
“These newest standards will not only follow the consensus-based process championed by IEEE, but will also leverage the latest in technology development best practices, such as live global test beds and open source references. Cloud computing will showcase our ability to deliver exceptional, universally relevant standards created with these leading edge methodologies,” she added.
By Sourya Biswas