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Efforts afoot to advance cloud standards

Brandon Butler | April 19, 2012
Launching a public cloud deployment is no "plug and play" matter for most business users, says Nicos Vekiarides, CEO of TwinStrata, one of dozens of companies that help manage cloud deployments for businesses.

There is some hope for standards efforts. A variety of organizations are attempting to push for standardization, including the Storage Network Industry Association, a nonprofit organization that has been involved with storage standards since 1997. The Cloud Data Management Interface, for example, is an effort by the SNIA to allow for a common toolset for deploying, retrieving, updating and deleting items stored in a cloud that each service provider would offer in APIs. Other standardization efforts as well, including by the Open Virtualization Format, which are underlying APIs that allow for easier migration of jobs between virtual machines.

The Cloud Security Alliance is even pushing for cloud providers to publish their security standards, a process that has been a slow one to catch on.

The problem is, generally, providers don't have an incentive to adopt standards, says Wayne Adams, chairman of the SNIA and a senior technologist at EMC.

"Vendors like it when they lock you in," he says. "Adopting standards in some ways could have the effect of eroding their market." It's a chicken and an egg situation, he says. Providers don't comply with standards unless customers request it; customers don't request it unless providers are complying with the standards. It's what he calls an "adoption curve." "At some point providers look around and see their competitors adopting standards and say, 'I need to too.'" But, we're not quite there yet.



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