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Open Cloud Initiative Aims To Define Open Cloud, Set Standards

The Open Cloud Initiative (OCI) is breathing new life as the organization looks to create cloud computing standards and foster openness in the cloud.

cloud standards

Modeled after the open source initiative to find balance between proprietary and free software, the Open Cloud Initiative comprises a board of directors culled from a host of cloud trailblazers to define and set a level of standard around open cloud computing.

"What we realized was the term open cloud is being used and abused by everybody," said OCI founder and President Sam Johnston.

According to Johnston, vendors have been leveraging the term open cloud without actually sharing their contributions to the cloud products and services. And as cloud computing shifts the market from IT products to IT services, open source cloud computing and open standards become a necessity to push cloud initiatives forward.

The Open Cloud Initiative isn't alone in its quest for cloud standards. A host of bodies have sprung up to push for different standards around cloud computing. Where the OCI differs, Johnston said, is that it will not open itself up to vendor members.

Johnston said the OCI looks to strike a balance between proprietary black box services and completely open cloud computing software. If successful, user freedoms will be protected, while vendors will still be able to sell cloud offerings and make money. The OCI is not against proprietary systems as long as they comply with interoperability standards like HTML, ODF, PDF and others, and enable users to migrate from one cloud service to another.

The renewed activity of the OCI, which originally launched in 2009, comes as the organization preps for its official re-launch at OSCON 2011 this month. The OCI is looking to be recognized as a California-based non-profit and is working to become a 501(c)(3) charity.

The Open Cloud Initiative's set of principles is currently nearing the end of its public comment period and is working to get its Web site up and running. Once fully launched, the Open Cloud Initiative and its directors will put together its definition of what open cloud means and apply it to products and services that will then be accredited able to use open cloud branding as a differentiator.

"The idea is to really put some meaning behind the term open cloud," Johnston said. "I hope we're able to make a bit of difference here."

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