Monday, March 23, 2009

Strategies and Technologies for Cloud Computing Interoperability (SATCCI)

Had a great day hanging out in Washington DC with a variety of federal government & cloud computing folks discussing Strategies and Technologies for Cloud Computing Interoperability held in conjunction with the Object Management Group (OMG) March Technical Meeting.

The day was broken into two parts with standards related groups presenting in the morning and "cloud vendors" in the afternoon. A few highlights from the morning sessions included an announcement fromNIST , a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce with a mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. They announced the creation of "Cloud Interoperability Profile" for federal-compliant cloud infrastructures with the goal of creating a standardized profile for cloud computing with in the federal government. I'm told this is a big step for the agency.

Craig Lee, President of the Open Grid Forum suggested that we need to take more time to examine the overlap between various standards groups, mapping the opportunities for collaboration. Something I think would be useful. Also, from a lot of the discussions it sounded like there was a lot of duplicationamoung the various groups and we needed better insight into these efforts. I also found this quote in Lee's slide deck interesting, it was from Chris Smith,OGF's VP of standards in which he said, Grids are Access models, clouds are business models. The quote makes a lots sense. (I may use that myself)

Winston Bumpus, Director of Standards Architecture at VMware and President of the DMTF also announced that OVF had reached a v1.0 release and suggested that it was an ideal cloud migration and deployment package. I suggested that OVF had the potential for many other uses such as an platform centric application deployment package such as what you may use for deployment on a platform as a service offering like Google App Engine. He seemed to agree. I also had a chance to speak with Bumpus and he did a great job of clarifying his position on potential vendor bias within the standards group, noting that like any political organization you need to ware many hats and do what's right for the community at large while balancing your responsibilities to your employer. He did a great job of putting my previous VMware / DMTF conflicts of interest concerns to rest. You can tell he's been doing this for a while I am not the first to suggest this. Later in the day he indicated we still had work to do in defining a common cloud taxonomy, but also noted that it was a difficult proposition without wider industry support. He also recommended we create what he called a "scrum wiki" that might help organize our taxonomy efforts and asked if the CCIF take the lead on creating it. Something I am also open to.

In the afternoon the folks from presented their thoughts on cloud interoperability, which was a kind of bizarre mix of confidence and blissful ignorance. To start it off they stated that there is no such thing as a private cloud quoting a statement they claim was made by Joe Weinman at AT&T. (It looked like it was taken out of context) Then they informed us they were indeed interoperable because you could export your data in a "text format" if you ever wanted to leave their "cloud". When I asked if they thought that exporting a 1 terabyte text file was a good idea, they said they think it was going on to say it was proof of their commitment to interoperability. Further digging their own hole, they then went onto state that their Apex programming language, built for their because no other multi tenant languages existed, was a great example of interoperability, but admitted you could only run it on platform, noting that it had facebook and twitter integration which was why it was interoperable.

For me one of the most interesting presentations was from Microsoft. They outlined their software + services strategy and commitment to open source and open standards. They also shed some light on their global data center deployments saying that they're buying upwards of 20,000 servers a month around the globe. They also stated that Azure would be released later this year in a "dedicated" deployment option that could run in virtual machines bundled with hyper-v as well as leveraging a hybrid geotargeting option.

After the workshop I had a chance to go out for a few beer with Dirk Nicol from IBM and Scott Radeztsky who both noted their commitment to the concepts of an Open Cloud. But that's a story for another time.

I want to thank Bob Marcus for putting on this great event!

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