Cloud Standards At Heart Of Open Data Center Alliance Cloud Usage Models

Cloud standards

The seven-month-old Open Data Center Alliance comprises more than 280 global IT leaders that spend more than $100 billion annually on IT. Additionally, the organization has formed workgroups, aligned with key standards bodies and solution providers, and this week published a set of eight user-driven requirements for cloud computing, a move that the Alliance said can help shape member purchasing and outline requests to vendors and solutions providers to deliver leading cloud and next-generation data center solutions.

The Open Data Center Alliance's cloud usage models address security, automation, management and policies and transparency. The eight Open Data Center Usage Models, which define IT requirements for cloud adoption, are also designed to aid in cloud RFIs and RFPs. The goal is to enable federation, agility and efficiency across cloud computing while identifying specific innovations in secure federation, automation, common management and policy and solution transparency to spur the widespread adoption of cloud services. According to the alliance, the eight usage models "define the most urgent requirements for cloud."

The outlined usage models come as the cloud computing industry is expected to explode, with Forrester Research predicting it will hit $241 billion come 2020. The cloud industry, however, lacks a true set of standards, though several groups have stepped up to start building standardization models around the cloud. The IEEE has put its hat in the cloud standards ring and has begun developing cloud computing standards. The federal government is also seeking cloud standards as it forges ahead with its government-wide "cloud-first" strategy with calls for agencies to examine cloud technologies before others for IT investments.

The recommended usage models include two around secure federation. First is security monitoring, which helps to address the challenges of provider security assurance and ensure that cloud service providers are meeting the security levels promised. "Enterprises need mechanisms that allow real-time monitoring of security level delivery to organizational and regulatory policy," the Alliance wrote. Second is security provider assurance, a usage model that "answers what is needed for security assurance" and outlines specifications needed form every solution provider to enable security via a tiered model of platinum, gold, silver and bronze classifications for different service deliveries. Those give cloud users more insight into the security of their providers' clouds.

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NEXT: More Open Data Center Alliance Cloud Usage Models Outlined

For automation, the Open Data Center Alliance created usage models around IO control and VM interoperability. IO control requires hardware and software mechanisms to allow data center managers to specify exact bandwidth per VM and total amount of network I/O per user based on policies, ultimately leading to increased efficiency of system use. Meanwhile the VM interoperability usage model specifies which areas need to be resolved through the creation of new management interfaces that are consistent across and create interoperability among hypervisors to fuel consistent VM policy management internally and in the cloud.

The Open Data Center Alliance is also pushing for a common management and policy framework with a regulatory framework use model that is a compilation of government agencies and regulatory bodies from around the globe to deliver a stronger understanding of the scope of policy implications of Alliance requirements. It provides a reference sample of industry, local, federal and international regulatory bodies, regulations, laws, and standards spanning industry domains such as government, banking brokerage and financial services, health and pharmaceuticals and telecommunications.

Lastly, the Open Data Center Alliance created three usage models around transparency. First, the group is looking to create consistency of carbon reporting to enable differentiation of green service providers. That usage model covers the carbon footprint for a workload as it executes. Second, the service catalog usage model tackles how to measure what services are being delivered and what attributes exist for the service. And third, the standard unit of measurement for IaaS model seeks to create consistency and transparency around cloud services, including measurement of the cost benefits of the cloud, through definition of the framework and attributes that metrics candidates should have. That usage model also seeks to help with SLA determination and describes the creation and use of Standard Units of Measure (SUoM) for quantitative and qualitative measures which describe the capacity, performance and quality of the service components.

Meanwhile, the Open Data Center Alliance is collaborating with standards bodies and vendors to turn the usage model recommendations and cloud usage requirements into implementable and industry-backed solutions. Some standards bodies involved include the Cloud Security Alliance, the Distributed Management Task Force, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards and TM Forum's Enterprise Cloud Leadership Council.