New initiative for open cloud computing management standards
The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) has launched the "Open Cloud Standards Incubator". The goal of the initiative is to develop specifications that define how companies transfer applications and data between cloud environments – whether the clouds are located at one of the company's data centres or not.
In cloud computing, the main focus for system performance, for the provision of applications and for data storage is not on clients, but on servers, which are organised in grids and large, distributed server farms. Therefore, cloud computing is one of the basic components and extensions of the "Software as a Service" (SaaS) application model, where applications are not installed on the user's local machine, but rather delivered as on request services via server farms.
A central aspect of the cloud resource management approach, which is to be developed by the Open Cloud Standards Incubator, is the Open Virtualization Format (OVF). OVF describes an open, secure, portable and extensible format for packaging and distributing software to be run in virtual machines. As some of the group members anticipate that OVF will become one of the main components for cloud interoperability, they see much potential in standardising OVF protocol and API extensions, security aspects and corporate-independent regulations.
DMTF members include companies like AMD, Cisco, Citrix, EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Savvis, Sun Microsystems and VMware, who are all involved in the incubator initiative. Amazon, on the other hand, probably the market leader in cloud solutions, is not involved in the project. Other efforts to standardise cloud computing are, for example, the Open Cloud Consortium and the Open Cloud Manifesto.