cloud metrics

What’s in a name? NIST drafts cloud metrics guide

As new cloud computing providers and services enter the market, it’s often hard for government IT managers to distinguish marketing hype from meaningful metrics.  

Companies and organizations often use the same cloud computing terms with slightly different—or even contradictory meanings -- leading to confusion among cloud service providers, customer and carriers.

The lack of clear definitions for cloud computing terms makes the systems and services they describe inherently immeasurable.

Government agencies, like most organizations, need a way to consistently define cloud metrics, which will increase overall confidence in the measurement of cloud service properties and support decision-making during different stages of the cloud lifecycle.

The key to choosing a good cloud service, according to NIST, is having clear, measurable requirements and data on those capabilities, such as quality of service, availability and reliability.

Accordingly, NIST has drafted a guide for creating cloud metrics to support what the agency calls the cloud service trifecta: service selection, service agreement and service verification. The Cloud Computing Service Metrics Description aims to provide a way to measure quality of service, security features, and  cloud availability and reliability to help IT managers make good choices and understand the state of the service being delivered.

The draft document is essentially a model for what is possible in cloud service metrics, Frederic de Vaulx, who leads the NIST working group that has been exploring cloud service metrics, told FCW, GCN's sister site.

"Being able to have measurable services will allow us to, down the road, be able to have cloud services as a commodity and be able to provide cloud services with contractual agreements," de Vaulx said.

Comments are due Jan.  24, 2015; they should be sent to Frederic de Vaulx, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Dr., Stop 8970, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, or to

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