Group provides a blueprint for building a cloud

The Open Data Center Alliance published eight usage models that define IT requirements for cloud adoption and provide a vision for cloud computing

Seven months after its launch, the Open Data Center Alliance has published and released eight usage models that define IT requirements for cloud adoption and a vision for cloud computing.

The models cover areas such as enhanced security, services transparency, efficient computing and enhanced cloud interoperability.

The Alliance, a consortium of 280 global IT and private-sector companies, the Open Data Center Alliance is working to provide a unified vision for data center and cloud infrastructure requirements through the development of technology-independent usage models and industry collaboration on cloud standards. Intel serves as the technical advisor to the Alliance.

“We are not a standards group,” said Curt Aubley, Open Data Center Alliance president.


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However, the Alliance is working on user business cases and with industry on guidelines that will help members’ data center planning and purchasing decisions, said Aubley, who is also vice president and chief technology officer of Cyber Security & NexGen Innovation with Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Solutions.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is working with federal agencies and industry to define cloud computing business use cases that can be used as examples to identify specific risks, concerns and constraints.

For example, a candidate might be e-mail or migration of a specific application system to a specific type of cloud computing model such as infrastructure or software-as-a-service. Some agency business use cases were presented at the NIST Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop III held April 2011 in Gaithersburg, MD.

The Open Data Center Alliance is working with NIST to speed up the adoption of standards for interoperability, portability and security, said Jason Waxman, general manager of high density computing for Intel’s data center group.

“There are lots of opportunities to work with NIST,” Waxman said, noting that Intel is working on a paper with NIST that explores how hardware-based processors could be implemented within the government for cloud computing.

The Alliance is collaborating with an ecosystem of standards bodies and vendors to turn the requirements in the usage models into industry-backed solutions that can be implemented within organizations. The initial agreements include:

  • Cloud Security Association (CSA) to drive standards definitions for security requirements.
  • The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) to define IT infrastructure management requirements.
  • The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) to drive standards for service transparency.
  • TM Forum’s Enterprise Cloud Leadership Council (ECLC) to advance services definition.

Highlights of the initial published usage models include:

  • Provider Security Assurance and Security Monitoring, which addresses IT’s greatest challenge for cloud adoption by proposing standard security levels for cloud services and compliance.
  • Service Catalog and Standard Units of Measurement for Infrastructure-as-a Service, which enables feature, price and performance comparisons across private and public clouds for increased transparency and easier IT decision-making.
  • Virtual Machine Interoperability and I/O Controls, which address the technical foundation required for federated cloud interoperability and improved quality of service.
  • Regulation and Carbon Footprint Values, which outline expectations for cloud services to ensure compliance to government and corporate reporting requirements and provides a way for services to be CO2 aware for subscribers.

The Alliance Board of Directors ratified the publication of the business use case models. The board comprises representatives from 12 global organizations, including: BMW; Capgemini; China Life; China Unicom; Deutsche Bank; JPMorgan Chase; Lockheed Martin; Marriott International, Inc.; National Australia Bank; Terremark; The Walt Disney Company and UBS.

Publications are available as downloadable PDF files. Beginning June 29, the Alliance is also hosting a series of webcasts regarding the first publication.

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