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Accelerating Cloud Computing Standards with Use Cases

by Manuel Pais on Aug 03, 2011 |

 A set of key cloud computing use cases focused on cloud management, portability, interoperability and security has been developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) as an on-going contribution for the definition of open standards for cloud computing. Furthermore, NIST hopes to accelerate the delivery of such standards by engaging with cloud providers to deliver worked examples testing the use cases based on their public cloud system specifications. This body of work could then serve as input for organizations working on cloud computing standards such as the recently launched Open Cloud Initiative.

Following the U.S. government’s Federal Cloud Computing Strategy decision to adopt and generalize cloud computing throughout its federal agencies, NIST is in charge of defining the roadmap for cloud adoption. The roadmap includes the recommendation of open standards for cloud computing which support the use cases. A first edition of the NIST Cloud Computing Standards Roadmap describes the need for standards and maps portability, interoperability and security requirements in the cloud to existing standards and their current status/market acceptance. An inventory of standards and contributing organizations is also being maintained by NIST.

In particular the document identifies five candidate areas for cloud standardization:

·         Management APIs
·         Data Exchange Formats
·         Federated Identity and Security Policy APIs
·         Resource Descriptions
·         Data Storage APIs

Several cloud business use cases and their dependencies on these areas are described along with potential standards under development that could fill in the gaps. The use cases include for example manipulation of data objects in the cloud, moving data as well as virtual machines/appliances between clouds or single sign-on access to multiple clouds.

Microsoft is the first cloud provider collaborating with the NIST by demonstrating how their Windows Azure offering supports those use cases. The test drivers code has been made available by their partners Soyatec. To further support the interoperability claims the tests were coded in Java using Azure’s open source SDK for Java.

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